The family story of a great writer at the end of the twentieth century

The family story of a great writer at the end of the twentieth century

Susanna Tamaro.Every Angel is Terrible (Ogni angelo è tremendo. Bompiani 2013)

Susanna Tamaro is one of the best known Italian writers in the international literary scene. Her bestseller Follow Your Heart,1994 has sold more than 15 million copies in thirty languages.

This book was followed byAnima Mundi, Answer me, Tobias and the Angel and The Heart of Ciccio, among her best works to my knowledge, which have all been translated in major languages. Writing is a tiring task but not in a physical way, moreover, in a spiritual way. Susanna Tamaro makes this evident in her latest book entitled Every Angel is Terrible. She states that the process of creation is like a quartering of the spirit. On reading the book one can say that she does not exaggerate. In fact it is a "showdown" of herself, i.e. a story of her own roots which is undoubtedly a literary key in most of her books. Here the sufferance is doubled because it is not just at the expense of the author but also at the person herself. The reader easily connects and engages with the story owing to this.

Tamara's work does not seek to be purely autobiographical although it helps us to understand something about the writer and her parents as they have passed away now. The book aims to be literary and faithful in the narration of her family and therefore potentially universal in its unique concreteness.

In a culture where the family is divided and the pain of family separations are concealed for various reasons like fear, accusations and vindication that surround them, Tamaro's story, on the other hand is a story of hope and healing. She says that inherited negativity is not the final word nor forgiveness is an optional or second-rate psychological treatment. The only way to find inner stability is through self-maturity and thus spiritual maturity.

Susanna narrates in a fully restored tone the painful vicissitudes of her family. She offers a glimpse of her own identity lain by relationships and by heritage. The pain is so perceptible you can almost touch it, but it is a pain now told where a healing has taken place. The pain has now eased and become fecund.

With her book, Susanna Tamaro focuses on the questions of why one writes and for whom one writes. This is why Every Angel is Terrible ends with some reflections on the art of writing, on the effort, the pain of writing and the joys too. It gives interpretative guidelines on her works which, in my opinion, sometimes may have been read too quickly by critics. She cites a summary of the two different views, which are tied into all of her works, one is the breath of her life and the other is the response of a talent and a gift. Uncle Abraham, Italo Svevo's brother, Tamaro's grandfather was a butcher of the schechitah, the Jewish ritual slaughtering. For Susanna Tamaro, a butcher and a writer have both something in common: "You need to know anatomy and you have to have mercy. But this mercy should not make the hand tremble and cause unnecessary torment. Writing is a quartering. It's a quartering of one's life, which at any moment succumbs to tyranny and of the reality of what appears in front of our eyes. In respect to nihilist quartering, it is a quartering that assumes a meaning in every moment. A dispeller to let light through, not to acknowledge darkness and gloom"..