Books about Savannah are nothing new, but what is fresh about this semi-autobiographical novel is the simplicity. There are no murders, scandals or historical drama. Whispering Tides is plainly an impassioned but low-key story of one man’s struggle to begin a new life in our hostess city, far from the place of his birth and professional career in Milan, Italy.
The protagonist in the story is Alberto Landi, a well-traveled journalist and recent widower. The antagonist is the grief that constantly plaques Alberto after the loss of his companion of 23 years, his wife Nina. When the walls of an everyday, solitary life full of memory start to close in, Alberto makes the radical decision to abandon his career and homeland. With the urging of friends from previous visits to Savannah, then accompanied by the late Nina, he draws the veil on his life in Milan and sets out for a new life on the Georgia coast.
Upon his arrival in Savannah, Alberto basks in the “amniotic fluid” of his surroundings, the semi-tropical atmosphere and timelessness that encapsulates him. What is striking about the author’s depiction of Savannah from the beginning is his ability to describe the beauty and feel of the city as if he were a native. Writer Guido Mattioni lets the region seep into him, seemingly to breathe it, from the celebrated downtown district to the salty waters of Moon River.
Memories and visions of the deceased Nina rear at his every turn, but Alberto forces himself to forge ahead and make something of his new life. He busies himself by becoming acquainted with some local characters and their various points of view. Some of these players may be actual people and others fictional, and trying to guess which is which can be amusing, but what is more interesting is the Italian-born Guido’s interpretation of Savannah. Locals just might recognize themselves when Guido surmises that,
“The difference here is that man and women, irrespective of good and bad events, demonstrate that they are used to measuring time in their own way and allow themselves the harmless freedom of scrutinizing
others, while allowing others to scrutinize them. They are calm because destiny comes when it wants to, without notice, making it unnecessary to scramble and run.”
Author Mattioni acknowledges and tips his hat to Slow-vannah time and the “practicing grace and other manners from yesterday.” Get a copy of this self-published novel at Amazon.
Born in Udine, Italy in 1952, I have lived and worked in Milan since 1978. During 33 years of journalism I have worked for daily newspapers as well as weekly and monthly magazines while holding almost every professional title possible, from reporter to editor-in-chief and deputy editor to special correspondent. When I was younger - yes, I’ve been younger! - I wrote two non-fiction books. I’m married to Maria Rosa, a medical doctor who is a specialist in oncology and so she is also someone who is much more socially useful than I am, apart of being definitely a much more beautiful person too. If I could be reincarnated I would like to do it as a chef. I’m also very proud of having been an honorary citizen of Savannah, Georgia since 1998. My novel Whispering Tides has been nominated by The Global eBook Awards 2012 (Popular Literary Fiction category).