she arrives in Syria, Cettina Schwarz dyes her hair red with henna
by mistake, a real trauma for her who has always been an unpretentious
little blonde, a Swisse-Neapolitan by lineage and sense of order.
Duped by a Milanese husband whom she has divorced, she has now an
unprecedented chance to invent herself an exciting job: she has
managed to infiltrate as a photographer the Parma University's prestigious
archeological expedition to Tell Mabruk.
An entire city
from the Second Millennium b.C. must be dug out before a new dam
will submerge its ruins in the waters of the Euphrates, not to mention
the thrill of operating in such exotic settings. Cettina sees herself
cracking mysteries and seducing Sheiks already, as in an adventure
But reality, albeit more sensible, proves
itself no less enthralling. In a room at Aleppo's historical Hotel
Baron, she gets hold of a letter, not so ancient yet mysterious,
written and left behind by an English lady traveller in the early
Nineteen Hundred. It tells of love and money and espionage, it's
romantic, it's of no use to anyone, and in fact, after putting it
in her pocket, even Cettina forgets all about it for a while, taken
up with the drags of field work. Why on earth would all the
Parmesan archeologists hold it against young Inanna, who might well
have the name of a goddess, yet seems so sweet and accomodating?
And who's the treacherous mole that's passing information over to
a rival archeological mission?
Professor Cavalli-Donati and researcher
Viviana Gentilomo barely manage to hold down their discontent. A
major find would be of the essence, something special and sensational,
which would render Tell Mabruk a site unlike any other in the world
and thus spare it from the waters of the dam... Meanwhile Cettina
is discovering a strong attraction for Ahmad, very handsome and
very dark Syrian excavation joint-director: she would be willing
to yield to his blazing gazes, but how to, if the memories of her
divorce are burning her so much already? Even love, as life's historical
dimension, is now at risk of being a lost object that must be unburied
before it is forever gone.
Amidst fierce ironies and brilliant
inventions that impart the plot the most unexpected turns, this
novel of light and pleasurable writing interwines in a surprising
way the scientific spin of archeological methods and the mythologies
of adventurous dream, comedy and investigation, the modern want
for our roots and the taunting consciousness that every reflection
can but be an allucination or an ambiguity.
A new novel by a provocative narrator, aware of the transformations
in social customs and language and capable of bringing to life strong,
Previous works translated by: Grasset (France) - Delfini (Greece)
- Prometheus (Holland) - Lumen (Spain) - Diogenes (Switzerland and
Germany) - Norma (Latin America)