The nuts and bolts or the cork footbeds and deluxe uppers of it are limited editions of the two-strap Arizona template: two basket-woven raffia shades for day; a yellow-ochre suede; and then black or red and pink satin, with piped edges for something dressier. To look out over the steep garden terraces of a resort once captured in all its sparkling glamour by Slim Aarons is to realize how smart a solution this collaboration is for a terrain where flat shoes are as imperative as the unwritten code of sophistication. Hard to get to, hidden away on the rocky Tuscan coast, this is a haven of relaxation where, among the tanned bodies and yellow-and-white-striped sun beds and umbrellas, you would not want to be seen making a sartorial misstep.
This is to paraphrase the philosophy of the outspoken latter-day viking who strides from German factory to front row in his fiercely hairy Rick Owens X Birkenstocks , the man who has put his immense shoulders into powering a newly booming Birkenstock renaissance. Angel feels Italian to the core, but when she visits Italy, she can hardly put two sentences together; her German-American boyfriend a student of languages gets taken for the true Italian.
A: Well, what can I say? Like all sisters, they love each other; they hate each other—sometimes both in the same moment. I hope that readers, no matter what their ethnic background, will be amused and saddened to see how sibling relationships bring us joy and grief. Q: What are you currently working on? Remind Me Again Why I Married You is set in and takes a humorous look at why a warring husband and wife might choose to stay together in the age of divorce.
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For a writer, a foreign language is a new kind of adventure.
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Minnie Darke. Not the Girl You Marry. Andie J. The Starless Sea. Erin Morgenstern. Spun Out. Lorelei James. Elsey Come Home. Susan Conley. The Adults. Caroline Hulse. I go out of the house, leaving behind the rest of my life. I forget, for several hours, the other languages I know.
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Each time, it seems like a small flight. Awaiting me is a place where only Italian matters. A shelter from which a new reality bursts forth. I am very fond of my teacher. Although for four years we use the formal lei , we have a close, informal relationship. We sit on a wooden bench at a small table in the kitchen.
I see the books on her shelves, the photographs of her grandchildren. Magnificent brass pots hang on the walls. At her house, I start again, from the beginning: conditional clauses, indirect discourse, the use of the passive. With her my project seems more possible than impossible. With her my strange devotion to the language seems more a vocation than a folly.
We talk about our lives, about the state of the world. We do an avalanche of exercises, arid but necessary. The teacher corrects me constantly. As I listen to her, I take notes in a diary. After each lesson I feel both exhausted and ready for the next. At a certain point the lessons with the Venetian teacher become my favorite activity. As I study with her, the next, inevitable step in this odd linguistic journey becomes clear.
At a certain point, I decide to move to Italy.
I choose Rome. A city that has fascinated me since I was a child, that conquered me immediately. The first time I was there, in , I felt a sense of rapture, an affinity. I seemed to know it already. After only a few days, I was sure that I was fated to live there. I have no friends yet in Rome. In Rome, Italian can be with me every day, every minute. It will always be present, relevant. It will stop being a light switch to turn on occasionally, and then turn off.
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In preparation, I decide, six months before our departure, not to read in English anymore. From now on, I pledge to read only in Italian. It seems right, to detach myself from my principal language. I consider it an official renunciation. I believe I have to leave behind something familiar, essential. Suddenly, none of my books are useful. They seem like ordinary objects. The anchor of my creative life disappears, the stars that guided me recede.
I see before me a new room, empty.
Whenever I can—in my study, on the subway, in bed before going to sleep—I immerse myself in Italian. I enter another land, unexplored, murky.
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A kind of voluntary exile. Reading, I feel like a guest, happy but disoriented. Reading, I no longer feel at home. The poetry of Quasimodo, of Saba. I renounce expertise to challenge myself. I trade certainty for uncertainty. I read slowly, painstakingly. With difficulty.
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Every page seems to have a light covering of mist. The obstacles stimulate me. Every new construction seems a marvel, every unknown word a jewel.