“Barricades reemerge: language, culture, time. To be a non-fluent foreigner is to pass through one gate only to find yourself outside two more.”
It has been a long time since I flew to Europe bringing two suitcases with a frying pan ensconced in one, certain that I would need it for my role as a new bride. Anthony Doerr has recreated all those feelings, of being a stranger in a new world, with this magnificent book. I read it slowly today, savoring the virtual trip to Italy interspersed with sentiments I’ve so often felt myself.
“I can’t help but wonder, as I saw with a bread knife at the seam of a package, about technology and the sprint that is a modern life. Is progress really a curve that seeps perpetually higher? Wasn’t packaging (or toy making or cobbling or winemaking or milk or cheese or cement, for that matter) often better three hundred or seven hundred or nineteen hundred years ago?”
My mother passed this book to me after she read All The Light We Cannot See and searched the library for every book by Doerr that she could find. It is a novel I’ve started three times, but never been able to finish. Perhaps now I can, for surely Four Seasons in Rome has been a remarkable reverie.