Italian Shoes: A Novel
This rich narrative follows a young man through Italy as he searches for his ancestral roots as well as his own identity. His pilgrimage, one that becomes sacred to the aspiring author as he searches for an authentic voice, takes him through Venice, Florence, Rome, and the Italian countryside where he works with peasants and follows the ancient traditions of blood and wine, leading him to rethink his philosophy and re-evaluate the direction of his life.
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The necessity of going to Italy in order to discover oneself and understand better one's origins, family as a social unit, the difference between Italian cities and Italian countryside as regards traditions and ways of living, poverty and lack of work as causes of immigration, Italy as the land of Fashion, ART and HISTORY, the difference between Italian and Canadian mentalities, all these are presented by Mark Trecroci coming to Italy to see his relatives for a while and also to visit famous places with his friends. Not only his cultural identity suffers changes, but several changes take place also in his personal life...all...as a consequence of his journey to his parents' native country. The Italian shoes he buys in the first days accompany him everywhere. The more they become worn the more he will understand better Italy. Yet homesickness wins. He will return to Canada yet...much CHANGED and his aim will be to become a writer moving hearts. Lovely book!
"I nodded, and looked at my shoes. They had carried me from Novilara to Venice to Florence to Rome. They had carried me from gallery to cemetery, church to catacomb, city to village. Just a small part of Italy, to be sure. I hadn't seen Milan or Udine or Friuli. I hadn't been to Naples. To the Abruzzi or Calabria or Sicily. I hand't seen Bari or Lake Como or the Italian Alps.
Yes, I didn't know shit, I wrote. But I had seen enough of Italy to see Lisa James. And in the next few years she would teach me a lot. About women. About art.
In the next few years I would put away my Italian shoes and write about my father, my Bobbo. I would follow Margaret Laurence's advice and write what was in my heart.
If I could touch some deep chord in people, people not satisfied with being stuck in the maze of day-to-day existence, and make them feel their own depth of being, that would be enough of an ideal to live and die for."