In November they took me home to the building where I was to spend the first fifty-two years of my life. Livorno is a city in Tuscany, on the sea. I lived near the port, in a filthy little street that for me is - and always will be - the whole world. Flights of swallows in spring, ferocious cries of seagulls all year round, the harbor cranes and the shipyard siren, a cloister and the red edge of the roofs. The cranes like black waders against the disc of the sun that I still couldn't see sinking at sunset from there. A popular neighborhood, coarse and vociferous people, neither good nor bad. I lived with my father, my mother, my grandmother and my great-aunt, two sisters who couldn't stand each other even though they loved each other.
My parents weren't very young anymore, they both worked. They weren't tender or caring. They have always taught with severity and frown, never with gentleness. But I was very attached to my mother, a visceral bond, an unresolved umbilical cord.
Is it possible to come to hate a mother whom we have loved so much, a fragile ninety-year-old mother? Yes, you can, and if I write this story perhaps it is also to retrace the past and rediscover that broken thread.