Ho parlato spesso di Venivamo tutte per mare, il bellissimo libro di Julie Otsuka che ho avuto l'onore e il piacere di tradurre. In particolare vi rimando a questo post, a questa intervista sul blog Biblioteca giapponese e a questa recentissima recensione sul blog Anarene di Roberto Manassero.
Ieri Julie Otsuka ha vinto il prestigioso PEN/FAULKNER Award (“In The Buddha in the Attic Julie Otsuka creates a voice that is hypnotic and irresistible, and renders her story with the power of the most ancient, timeless myths, the legends that crowd our dreams, and the truths we cannot bear. Her skill is awesome and utterly inspiring. The story she tells with the ear of a poet, the touch of an artist, and the wisdom of a very old soul is breathtaking in its scope and intimacy. This slender volume simply stole my heart,” said judge Marita Golden), e oggi ho deciso di darvi un assaggio del primo libro di Julie Otsuka, When the Emperor Was Divine, che comincerò presto a tradurre.
In questo libro, uscito nel 2003, Otsuka racconta la storia della deportazione di una famiglia nippo-americana in un campo di concentramento nel deserto dello Utah, all'inizio degli anni '40. Eccone due brevi assaggi: il primo è la scena in cui il padre viene portato via dagli agenti dell'FBI, il secondo è un'immagine dalla scena del suo ritorno.
"In the morning she had sent all of the boy's father's suits to the cleaners except for one; the blue pin-striped suit he wore on his last Sunday at home. The blue suit was to remain on the hanger in the closet. 'He asked me to leave it there, for you to remember him by.' But whenever the boy thought of his father on his last Sunday at home he did not remember the blue suit. He remembered the white flannel robe. The slippers. His father's hatless silhouette framed in the back window of the car. The head stiff and unmoving. Staring straight ahead. Straight ahead and into the night as the car drove off slowly into the darkness. Not looking back. Not even once. Just to see if he was there."
“Because the man who stood there before us was not our father. He was somebody else, a stranger who had been sent back in our father's place. That's not him, we said to our mother, That's not him, but our mother no longer seemed to hear us... 'Did you...' she said. 'Every day,' he replied. Then he got down on his knees and he took us into his arms...”