«Perugia is a city with an educational and healing beauty: here you are able to forget many terrible things for a little while and to remember why the things that are not terrible must be protected with as much determination and intelligence as possible. Meetings that take place here have fostered this perception: little festivals like CaLibro and associations like Nemo are the proof that there is a strong cultural resistance that is willing to survive at least as long as the walls inside it is lucky enough to express itself»: with these words the writer Michela Murgia talks about Umbria, where she spent a few days in April.
by Cristina Crisci
Intense days, during which she spoke about her books, she met with students, with asylum seekers, bringing her view of the world, of literature, of love and of taboos, with their related matters, for the times in which we are living. I interviewed Michela Murgia for CaLibro, the festival in Città di Castello which has brought her to the Illuminati Theatre where she arrived with her load of thoughts, ironies and sharp truths which reach the audience in such a direct way that makes her one of the most actively involved Italian intellectual speakers in many different areas, not just literary.
After Accabadora, the book that received the Campiello reward in 2010 (and was translated in 28 languages), in November was published by Einaudi, Chirù with a decisively new promotional formula…
In fact Chirù, the main character of your book came out of the pages before its publishing and appeared in social networks, making a bunch of friends, with a highly followed Facebook profile, in a sort of literary call-to-action. How and why did this idea come up?
«Who can decide when a book or a story starts and ends? I’ve simply used social networks to talk about Chirù using a profile in which, as in a diary, I spoke about experiences and daily problems of an average teenager: in this way his ‘followers’ have gotten attached to the soul of the character before the book was even published. I still think that what I’ve done with Chirù, in 30 years will not be the normality, but the early stages of normality».
You have defined Chirù (a book that tells about the love story between a younger guy and an older woman, Eleonora), as a story that talks about power and the various forms that it assumes in human relationships.
«Yes, sure, this is not a ‘hot’ story: Chirù and Eleonora aren’t sleeping together, I say this for those people who were looking for something else. The book tells about the feelings and tensions between the two of them: I think that between a man and a woman who are in love there’s a huge power in the game, balanced relationships do not exist, we’re always in a game of weights and counterweights. One thing is sure: under the velvet cloak of love there hides a knife, always».
The woman is a key figure in your books: where are we at today in the path towards women’s emancipation?
«I would say that many conquests have been made but the oppositions are always well organized, in the sense that the reactionary wave never ceases. This generation not only must not lower the resistance but must be better than the feminists that have preceded us whom, often, instead of passing the baton have kept it for themselves».
You are very involved in causes and social battles: how do you reconcile your role of writer with that of being an intellectual?
«It’s a dual public area: I write my books in order to have the space to say the things that I consider important».
You have candidated yourself for presidency in the region of Sardinia to guide a project to be independent: in which direction will your commitment continue?
«It continues on, always in the same direction».