Saturday, June 21, 2014


"The air told me and the azaleas confirmed it: it was the end of March in Savannah."

Alberto Landi traveled to Savannah, Georgia 23 times. Me, just once but we both crash landed. My face-first "fall" really wasn't a fall at all. According to my husband I went flying without a parachute from a 24" raised sidewalk on River Street. We'd just left a restaurant when a huge cargo ship slowly maneuvered down the narrow Savannah River right in front of us. I'd never seen such a spectacle so I ran over to view the ship that towered over me by some 50 feet. When we turned back toward the shops and restaurants I looked up and pointed to the second story. "People live up there," I said. It amazed and surprised me and like I do whenever I visit a new place I imagined living there in the romance of it all. That's when I flew off the sidewalk and landed face first on the pavement below. Covered in blood, I took my first ride in an ambulance. I am happy to say that I walked away from the hospital with five or six stitches in my lip and no other injuries. 

Alberto Landi, the protagonist in Whispering Tides by Guido Mattioni, took a far more impressive fall. After the horrific death of his beloved wife of 23 years, when his world crumbled, he left his home in Milan, Italy and with all his worldly possessions in two bags, moved heart and soul to Savannah where he slowly healed. 

"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 I was immersed, secure and at ease in an amniotic liquid."

Mattioni goes on to describe Savannah, its residents, the flowers, and the wildlife in such detail that the writing seems three-dimensional and in slow motion. This brilliant writer paints such beautiful pictures with his imaginative prose that I will not soon forget them.

Whispering Tides is not a story of grief and loss. It is a wondrous love story between Alberto and his wife, Nina, and his romance with every nuance of Savannah.

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