Memory, a Story, and History

By Ada Treves

Katja Petrowskaja - Luigi Forte al BardottoA story that is also History, different languages that create multiple layers and that far from being a barrier become a richness and that force – the writer as much as the reader – to go beyond any limit. Katja Petrowskaja, the acclaimed author of “Maybe Esther”, in Turin for the Salone del Libro di Torino as one of the most important authors of this year’s guest of honour, Germany, was born in Kiev, and learned German as an adult. Nevertheless she won the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Prize “for her masterful journey into an imaginary zone of terror” with a text that critics consider “written in precise language and elegantly structured”. Her last encounter with the public took place at the Bardotto bookstore, in town, a hybrid between a coffeshop, a restaurant and, obviously, a bookstore where every week conferences, presentation of books and roundtables take place in the pleasant atmosphere. With Luigi Forte, professor at the University of Turin, she established a dialogue on language, history, memory and the past which has been followed by a second roundtable on “Jews in Germany”, with Gian Enrico Rusconi and Manuel Disegni, with Franesca Matalon reading some selected pages form the Italian translation of Maybe Esther, at the presence of Ada Vigliani, the translator “Forse Esther”, recently published in Italy by Adelphi.