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Millemorti by Nelleke Noordervliet
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Millemorti is a novel about coming to terms with one's frustration and adapting to the peaceful ways of nature. The Dutch art historian Anna Arents travels to the small village of Chiavalle in Italy to spend a half-year sabbatical there, working on her research. Her mood swings from anxiety to frustration and finally to peace, as the books which she needs for her work and which she had sent herself never arrive, but for the last moment. It means that throughout her six-month stay, she cannot work on her research, the reason why she had come to Chiavalle in the first place.

Instead of doing her work, she has nothing else to do but settle in the community with resignation. From the beginning, the somewhat eccentric postman, Daniele Puccio, who send himself letters, takes care of her well-being, helping her wherever he can. Anna becomes involved with a Dutch artist, Hans Hartog, a sculptor who seems to fit wonderfully well into the small Italian community. While Anna lives there for half a year, she observes various events in the life of the village community, a disappearance, a natural disaster (avalanche) which is probably malevolently triggered, arson in Hartog's studio, destroying all his wood sculptures, happiness and misery, and local politics, etc. Whatever befalls the members of this community, they solve their problems together. They seem to be endlessly patient and forgiving. While Hans Hartog fits in, and stays on, Anna Arents cannot, and leaves after her time is up.

Chiavalle is the birthplace of Maria Montessori. On the way to Chiavalle, Anna Arents meets a physically handicapped blind and deaf young man and his patient mother who guides him. Their passage through the Alps and a tunnel, represents Anna's transition from the world of the rational intellect to the world of sensation and intuition, a transition which, eventually, she cannot complete. ( )
1 vote edwinbcn | Aug 31, 2013 |
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