Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome Guido Mattioni to the blog. Author of Whispering Tides, Guido is here to share some information about his book. If this sounds like a book you are interested in reading, please use the buy links at the bottom of the post to pick up a copy or two.
An intimately lost Italian in search of a new life. An ancient American city of the Old South, softly “female” and welcoming to all, especially to “Her” beloved ghosts. A New Zealander florist who loves shoes and adores Others. The cult of Friendship and the religion of Remembrance. A cat fisherman who barely speaks and “His” other deeply wise animal friends. A bronze statue that listens. A rich eccentric becomes a taxi driver for boredom, and a psychologist by vocation. A mayor without a City Hall, but beloved and listened to. An old African-American who wonders about the great mysteries of life. Together, with other colorful characters, all intersect in a scenario of poignant and subtropical beauty creating a choral story without boundaries. A touching and funny “adult tale” who will make you cry and smile at the same time.
Born in Udine, Northeastern Italy, in 1952, Guido Mattioni has lived and worked in Milan since 1978. Writing has always been his job and his life. During 35 years of journalism, he has worked for daily newspapers and weekly and monthly magazines while holding almost every professional title possible, from reporter to editor-in-chief, and from deputy editor to special correspondent. He has traveled all over the world, especially in the USA, where he has visited almost every state. Recently retired, he still is an active columnist and freelancing contributor to Italian national dailies and magazines.
Whispering Tides is his first novel, and it is also available in its Italian version - Ascoltavo le maree. Set in Savannah, Georgia, the book was recently nominated for the 2013 Global eBook Awards of Santa Barbara, CA (Popular Literature Fiction category). The book is also a finalist at the 2012 edition of the Californian Awards – where Whispering Tides was the only book by an Italian author out of a thousand participants from 16 countries.
Bringing him to set his debut as a novelist right in Savannah was the mix of an intimate story and his long lasting “love affaire” with the Georgian City. It’s a love story – Guido says – that blossomed in a memorable, early Savannah spring in 1991, amidst gorgeous blooming azaleas. It was his very first visit there and it was to be just the first of an ongoing, never-ending series of yearly visits. More than this: It’s a love story that is nourished by a growing number of solid local friendships that pinnacle in 1998 with honorary Savannah citizenship being granted to him. Quoting Alberto Landi, the novel’s main character, he felt “this place hidden deeply inside, something already familiar…” and “since then the city of Savannah has become something intimate, an inseparable part of me, like a vital organ or my second skin.”
One of the yet few Italian “Indie” writers, utterly convinced about the positive impact of this revolutionary wave that is giving full meaning to the expression “freedom of press,” Mattioni is the author and publisher of his novel, which is downloadable both in English and Italian. Whispering Tides (Ascoltavo le maree) is available from main digital libraries such as Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Diesel, Smashwords, Sony and it is also available in paperback edition from Amazon.com and Lulu.com.
Guido is married to Maria Rosa, an Oncologist who is – as Guido says – someone “much more socially useful” than he is, apart from being definitely a much more beautiful person too. If he could be reincarnated he would like to do it as a chef because cooking is the pastime he is most fond of and is the only sport he practices. More than this, he is an atypical Italian because he suffers an incurable allergy to soccer.
Guido can be found:
Whispering Tides can be purchased:
When his beloved wife Nina suddenly dies after 23 years together, Alberto Landi understands he has to leave Milan, Italy, where he has always lived and worked. He leaves his friends, colleagues, a good job and the polluted big city he has never loved, which has now become even more intolerable to him. He is fifty, totally alone and confused, but he definitely knows that he has to escape across the ocean, to the only place he and Nina loved together. He lands in Savannah, Georgia. There, in a natural paradise governed by the breath of the tides and with the help of many dear friends – colorful human characters as well as wise animals – he starts to rebuild his new life. His dream is coming true until the day he wakes up one morning and discovers that…
The air told me and the azaleas confirmed it: it was the end of March in Savannah.
I was inhaling, breathing, and becoming intoxicated. Yet it was not perfume. It was an antique, ancestral odor, it was the humid scent flowing every six hours from sticky coats of mud left after each tide by the tireless embrace between earth and water. It was the primitive and stagnant essence the lagoon spreads on its banks with the selfless generosity that belongs only to Nature. It is like the thick scent of an excited woman in love, it’s sweet and sour at the same time.
I was breathing in again and I recognized it.
Now I understood the sincere sensation that I had experienced the very first time I had arrived here and immediately felt this place hidden deeply inside something already familiar that belonged to me. It was almost as if that water and that mud, so remote from the places where I was born and had lived, were in reality elements that had always been known to me, so much so that from then on I felt as if I was immersed, secure and at ease in an amniotic liquid.
I’m not crazy. The truth is that I fell madly in love one day with this part of the Georgian coast, with this humid and harsh land of perennially nomadic waters that at certain times disappear, but then always come back. And I was also in love with these sometimes little crazy people as well as with the always profoundly wise animals that live here. Since then the city of Savannah has become something intimate, an inseparable part of me, like a vital organ or my second skin.
After that first time I fell prisoner to that blind confusion that a human being can experience not only for another person, but also for a place, that I would return to as soon as I could. There was something inside of me that I cannot explain, but I would never investigate, something that even now I find hard to describe fully in words, something that kept telling me that I “had” to make that trip, a sort of a sentimental pilgrimage, at least once a year. And I have obeyed and often exceeded those annual orders.
I have done it regularly for years. At least every six months I’ve shouldered the boredom of the hours needed to fly over the Atlantic. But this has been done while passing time awaiting to return – always made even more agonizing by the nostalgic suffering from previous departures – that I have come to the point of no longer even feeling those long hours as they have been devoured by anxiety over each upcoming arrival.
Meanwhile I learned to bear coming back with a smile to the unchanging bureaucracy and predictable questions of U.S. Immigration officers. Those who want to know every time from me – but they should know every detail of me by now, since it’s all there in their computer terminals, from fingerprints to eye scans – whether I bring seeds or missile launchers, both options contained in the scope of an identical box to tick, as if the two things may have the same potential danger.
The consequence of my love affair was, until yesterday – because yesterday my life changed forever – a back and forth experience between Italy and America to the point that I did not know how many times I had landed at Atlanta airport and ran a race in order to not miss my connecting flight at the gate, pacing around and waiting for the amplified voice, “Savannah, Delta flight number…”
Then, another seat belt to buckle, another taxi down the runway, another attempt to fly with that lovely sensation of weightlessness that leaves a gap between the ground and the air and takes away the breath for quick and exciting moments.
So on, again into the heavens, always hoping in my heart that there will not be a lot of clouds. This is not for fear of turbulence, but because when the sky is clear I can follow mile after mile as everything is passing before my eyes, giving me the illusion of shortening time. With eyes glued to the window in an unnatural position that makes for a sore neck, I devour every minute and mile and turn my eyes down, to scroll past houses and bridges, rivers and roads in a Lilliputian world that has come to be quite familiar. Forward and onward, until the long-awaited moment when the plane reduces engine power to create the sensation of wanting to drop down. At that point my anxiety goes up to the limit and the forces within me are restrained only by the safety belt.
All this happened to me again just yesterday.
“Certainly, Mr. Landi, we will do our best to please you… Let’s see… On our deals from Atlanta to Savannah there is still one seat available numbered 11 F, if that is OK with you…”
Of course it was OK and everything went well from then on.
Back in Milan, at the check-in counter, I had asked for my usual, a window seat, but not too far forward. I did not want to find myself with the wing of a Boeing 737 somewhere between me and the landscape below, despite the fact that I was already very familiar with it. It was worth seeing over and over again or even just imagining it, if any part of it were hidden by clouds. I could rebuild it by using my visual memory or simply by engaging in an innocent exercise of reasonable imagination.
I admit that I always have a desire to look downwards when in flight and this could be seen as an almost infantile weakness considering I am more than half a century old and my youthful thick hair has worryingly turned white. Furthermore, I admit that it could be considered a strange obsession after a career in journalism that flew me all over the world. Yet this seemingly neophyte weakness has never disturbed me during flights, nor wrought me any embarrassment.
“Is this your first time here?”, asked the massive man with a big smile sitting next to me shortly after takeoff, Sam Pinker… – …field or fold, or something like that. He presented himself by shaking my hand with his large right hand, just a little oily from the mouthful of peanuts that he had just swallowed. “I work in the field of catheters and my company services hospitals, clinics and universities all over Georgia”, he added proudly without me even giving him the least inclination of wanting to know about his line of work. But I held back my smile while instinctively thinking how he might look while speaking to physicians and praising the quality and size of his most extensive catheter by sliding it between his big fingers, as round as hot dogs.
“No, I think this must be the twenty-third time that I have come to Savannah…”, I threw out there without even thinking.
Sam Pinker… – …field, or fold, or whatever the hell his name was, rubbed his eyes in disbelief. He already knew my name and what part of Italy I came from. My travel documents had been lying on the folding table in front of me just inches from his eyes for more than a few minutes while I had been trying to clean and tidy my pockets. I was amused to think that this large man had read through the transparency of my gin and tonic on the rocks that was splashing around in the plastic cup I had used as a makeshift paperweight. But I considered it to be on par with innocent curiosity and my strange habit of always wanting to look down during flights.
“Twenty-three times in Savannah? An Italian? Excuse me if I ask, mister Landi: but why? Sure, the city is beautiful, but what is an Italian doing in Savannah for twenty three times?”
I responded by making a gesture with my hand asking him to wait for a moment while I rummaged through the side pockets of my old kaki colored cargo pants that I always use for travel. As I had learned from my trips made for work, they help me keep everything under control.
“No, Alberto, in the pocket there”, I almost said aloud. “Ah, yes, here it is…”
The picture I had been looking for was in the pocket of my blue Oxford button-down cotton shirt, another piece that was an indispensable part of my usual traveling outfit.
In the color photo shot, there I was with Nina and the mayor of Savannah, standing behind a lecture podium.
“You see, this is me and this is my wife, who unfortunately passed away a few years ago…”
“My God, I’m so sorry, you must have suffered a lot. And if you allow me, my God, she was really beautiful”, interrupted Sam Pinker… – ..field, or fold, or whatever the hell he was called.
“…That’s life”, I said hanging my head down towards my shoulders, unable to find anything better to say on the thirteenth hour of my journey.
“However, in the photo we are in Savannah at a ceremony where we were awarded honorary citizenship, few years ago. Do you see the key to the city that the mayor is handing to me? That’s why I go back and forth so many times. Because it is a place I love and where I am loved a lot”.
At that point Sam Pinker… – …field or fold, or whatever the hell he was called, certainly wanted to ask many more questions, such as, why all the honors, who did I know in town, or in which hotel would I be staying. I realized that he was ready.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the captain would like to announce that we will be landing in Savannah in a few minutes, please fasten your seat belts, place the tray in front of you in an upright position and…”
They were very welcome words and they were sufficient enough to lessen my neighbor’s curiosity. I went back to looking down – avidly – through the window.
Yes, I was seeing what I had waited for thirteen hours to see once more.
Finally, beneath my eyes was the green of the impenetrable foliage from the trees that over time have become my friends, if not brothers, as well as the Savannah River along with its tributaries – the Herb, the Moon, the Vernon and the Skidaway – in whose waters wooden walkways leading to piers stretch out like long legs of locusts, frail and trembling. Further down in altitude is the twisty maze of tidal creeks, the shallower and narrower canals that do not even have the right to have their own name. They are perfectly visible and submitted every six hours to the comings and goings of the tides that make them look from time to time snake-like in the brown mud of shallow water when they are dry and like liquid tinsel squiggles illuminated by reflections of silver hue when the waters have invaded them.
Now, ever faster and closer, I saw coming towards me roofs, steeples, blue eyed waters of swimming pools, cars, and finally – more and more quickly – power and telephone lines along a runway with other aircraft already landed just moments before. Then, underneath me, I felt the soft bounce and great screeching from the tires of the plane on the sun warmed tarmac, the roar of the open flaps down against the air resistance and finally the weight of my body pushed forward while the brakes screamed and velocity decreased until everything came to a halt.
It had all happened to me again like it was just yesterday. The difference being that this time and from here on after, I would not depart again.