E la morte come fine della vita produttiva, quella felice, con la quale perde tutta la valle il suo fascino e la raccontatrice non ha il motivo di continuare a parlare. La nonna prega le ospiti di accomodarsi e porta il pane e il sale. Disprezzo di sua gentilezza. La nonna va sempre a chiesa di domenica e porta sempre qualche pensiero ai nipoti. Lei ha paura di lui, di suoi occhi neri.
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Jan 08, Michael rated it it was amazing Reading Bozena Nemcovas wonderful book about a grandmother, I was aware how rare it is to find a book that truly celebrates only that which is the best in people. And, I am aware how rare it is that I remember to appreciate all the good that has come my way in life, not least of all from my grandmother, who is no longer here, and my mother, herself now a grandmother of The book chronicles how the ageing lady goes about her daily tasks and chores with her commonsensical and simple values.
She soon befriends and wins the respect of the people that make up the small local community — the miller, the gamekeeper, travelling peddlers, and even the Princess and Countess, in whose employ her son-in-law serves.
Grandmother takes an interest in other people, their joys and sorrows, and as someone who is seen by all as a truly good and honest person, she humbly influences and intervenes in the lives of these people, when needs arise. Toward the end of the book, there is a sequence in which the grandmother and the children sit to have their portraits painted by the young Countess. To Nemcova, as to many an author, there is clearly a part of the endeavor of writing that has to do with remembrance, preserving moments, recording.
But the book would probably not have attained the level of reverence that it has in Czech culture, if it was merely a portrait of a beautiful person. Depicting a year in the life of the grandmother, the book simultaneously renders the world around her, and what it means to the grandmother and the people in the community. It is a portrait of a world, a people and a culture. It tells of the many splendors of nature; the flowers picked and used for various purposes, the many kinds of trees, fruits and berries and mushrooms, and how all these natural treasures are part of life, and sustaining life.
It is a portrait of the traditions that follow the seasons; Christmas, Easter, Lent, and harvest. And, it is a portrait of the seasons in life; childhood, youth, maturity and marriage, old age. In this one little book, Nemcova achieves to portray the Czech people of Bohemia, as they lived and died at a time, when they had been subjects of the Habsburg dynasty for centuries, and seventy years before they would have a country to call their own.
And, although Nemcova does not explicitly say so, perhaps the most important thing about this book is not the plot or the story, but rather the sustained description of the natural world around the family in the story, and all the customs and traditions that unite a people.
The book was illustrated by Karel Hruska, and his drawings are used here without permission.
Božena Němcová: Babička