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"In the woods, there are no boundaries, my father used to say. He repeated this often, like a mantra to be memorised, revealing some truth that we would only come to understand much later, once we were adults".
The narrator of this story grew up on the borderlands between two countries, and was raised in a spirit of internationalism by her father, a Slavic-born pacifist who believed in the free movement of people, foreign languages mixed without rules and walks in the woods. It is precisely during one of those long walks, that were made mostly in silence or whilst exchanging observations about the tracks of a fawn or a hare, that her father explains that there are no borders, that the forest belongs to everyone, and that it is not divided by nationality like a map: "have you ever seen a birch tree pulling back its branches so as not to cross into foreign territory?”.
And yet, both fascinated and frightened, she realises that the woods over there are different, darker, inhabited by bears: over there is the nation with one of the strongest armies in the world, a land of bloodthirsty men with knives between their teeth and a shepherd's beard, as the people in her coastal town describe it, seemingly having little understanding of the greatness of that people. On the day of her sixteenth birthday, the girl - who, unlike her brother, is not afraid of freezing temperatures and who shows a certain aptitude for slipping between slalom poles - receives a ticket from her father to attend the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.
On the 5th of February 1984, they set off in the car on what will be a journey of revelation, in which they will experience a new emotion, a strange sense of belonging, an epiphany that will culminate in a night off-piste, at breakneck speed, through the dense forests of Trebević, together with Luka...
Federica Manzon, born in 1981 in Pordenone, lives and works between Turin and Milan. She is the author of the novels: Come si dice addio (Mondadori, 2008), Di fama e di sventura (Mondadori, 2011) - for which she won the Rapallo Carige Prize for Women's Literature and the Premio Campiello, Selezione Giuria dei Letterati (A Jury of Literary Experts) – as well as, La nostalgia degli altri (Feltrinelli, 2017). She edited the anthology I mari di Trieste (Bompiani, 2015). She was editor of Mondadori's foreign fiction and is currently head of educational projects at the Holden School.
Release date: 2020
Dimensions: cm 14 x 19