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N.Hornby-A LONG WAY DOWN. Quando una studentessa consiglia un libromolto interessante…

“Can I explain why I wanted to jump off the top of a tower block?”

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“ The story is written in the first-person narrative from the points of view of the four main characters, Martin, Maureen, Jess and JJ. These four strangers happen to meet on the roof of a high building called Topper’s House in London on New Year’s Eve, each with the intent of committing suicide. Their plans for death in solitude, however, are ruined when they meet. The novel recounts their misadventures as they decide to come down from the roof alive – however temporarily that may be”.

 “ Hornby’s best novel to date, impossible to put down… how can an examination of four people’s anguish be so enthralling!” Ruth Rendell, The Guardian

“Perhaps the funniest and most exhilarating novel ever written about group suicide. A long way up from much modern fiction, which seems to have been written to supply us with reasons to jump” The Village voice

 Technically perfect the use of “the multiple point of view”. The story is interesting and involving, yet sometimes sad and depressing. Hornby’s subtle irony  paradoxically highlights his deep inspiration on the subject and on the too many “Why”  in the life of ordinary people. Wonderful book!

 Silvia Ceccato, a student of mine, highly recommended it. I took her advice and so did some class mates of hers. The experience was illuminating. When such good ideas come from your students you cannot help thanking God or Whoforhim to have chosen the job you are doing. The deep sense of satisfaction radiating from Silvia’s eyes while she was presenting and discussing her review to the class marked a meaningful step in our common work and experience.

Every time I happen to read the notes I scribbled on the pages of Hornby’s novel I always end up  giving new value and importance to the reason why I began to read it.

Silvia was only sixteen, she was in her third year of a language course in a State lyceum in Padua and she had already devoured one book after another: in Italian, in English, in German, independently from the requests of the school curriculum. A sort of miracle! The movie?

 The Movie? Less convincing.

Claire Alfieri-LET IT SNOW. Al liceo, piccola grande prova di scrittura in Inglese

 

Let It Snow-a Winter’s Tale

Clare Alfieri (3D Ling. ITAS “Scalcerle” Padova 2008)

 

let it snow

 

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Music and words were dancing together, fluttering and swinging in the air to come to my ears in a unique, symphonic wave.  I’ve always loved listening to Christmas carols during winter, while snow’s falling on the ground, freezing and purifying everything it meets: the world turns white and the whole nature seems a joyful bride, waiting for her man to come to the altar and pronounce the fateful “yes”.

On a cold, windy day of December I’m sitting all curled-up in my dark red sofa as always: a rosary in one hand and a book of poems laying open on my knees. I need nothing but those few things to be happy and feel safe from the Great Cold of the usual Canadian winter. Since few years I have the fortune to feel neither cold nor hot: it seems as if my nerves have stopped feeling temperature and I couldn’t be happier for that. I’ve always been sensitive to cold in my previous life, and now I can fully enjoy winter, even if snowstorms still frighten me.

 It doesn’t show signs of stopping
And I’ve brought some corn for popping
The lights are turned way down low
Let is snow, let it snow, let it snow

I don’t feel hunger nor thirst, my skin is paler than I remembered and I can’t see myself in mirrors, except when I make a memory effort and strongly believe I can see my figure in them. It scared me a little bit at first, but, eventually, I got used to it.

My entire person isn’t what people define “physical”. It is something more like a presence, a sensation, a cold wind blowing on people’s cheeks and necks, causing shivers down their spines. When I asked God to return to earth in this form I couldn’t really imagine what it would have been like: being invisible to the world, being unable to help people whenever they need it, being unable to say your own opinion in a discussion. In a word, being nothing.

Phantoms’ life isn’t a simple life. You need to get used to it or hope the person you’re linked to dies and comes with you to the “upper world”.

That is the reason why I didn’t remain among clouds, angels and neverending happiness: I am still in love with my poor, old, skinny husband, and I couldn’t really leave him that way.

 

When we finally kiss goodnight,

How I’ll hate going out in the storm!

But if you really hold me tight,


All the way home I’ll be warm.

 

Oh, my dear James how long time we’ve spent together… Do you remember those days when we were young, reckless and crazy? We were really much more different than now, but always stuck together like butter to bread and always in love one with the other.

If only I could tell you what I feel… Well, actually I’ve already tried to. It took me tons of energy to make you write those few words on a piece of paper to inform you I’m still here with you. But you thought your house was haunted and then persuaded yourself of being possessed by demons. You fool! How could you not recognise me?

Ghosts don’t feel cold nor hot, nor hunger nor thirst; but I can assure you they can feel their heart breaking and their feelings being hurt.

Anyway, you eventually understood that it was me and tried to get in contact with your poor dead wife. It wasn’t simple to convince you not to commit suicide to join me, but in the end I managed to do it. If you had done it, we would have been divided for the eternity, and I really couldn’t have stood it.

 

The fire is slowly dying,


And, my dear, we’re still good-bying,


But as long as you love me so,


Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

 

Now you are dragging your slippers on the dirty floor: without me you can’t even keep this hovel clean. Like every evening you come to poke the fire to help you’re wife’s spirit not to feel cold; like every evening you make sure windows are well closed, because, even if I’ve already told you I don’t feel anything, you’re still convinced I could get a cold; like every evening you put some books on the table in case I feel like reading; like every evening you put some blankets on the sofa to keep my spirit warm; and, like every evening, you blow a kiss in the air, hoping for it to reach my cheeks.

Like every evening I silently follow you into your bedroom, unnoticed .

Like every evening I listen to you whispering softly “Soon I’ll join you.” while you look at my photograph and close your eyes.

 

Lyrics from  Let it snow  by Michael Buble

 

 

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