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There Is No Map: The New Italian(s)

September 2016

Image: Darrin Zammit Lupi, from “Isle Landers,” 2014, photograph. © Darrin Zammit Lupi. Courtesy of the artist.

Image: Darrin Zammit Lupi, from “Isle Landers,” 2014, photograph. © Darrin Zammit Lupi. Courtesy of the artist.

This month, we bring you literature on the theme of Italian migration across diverse genres and landscapes. The writers here—from Algeria, Germany, India, Albania, and beyond, all writing in Italian—grapple with the most important questions regarding migration in Italy: who is Italian, what is the Italian language, and who deserves to write in it? Indian–born writer Laila Wadia writes a letter to her newborn son, while Milanese journalist Gabriella Kuruvilla’s short story touches on the dynamics of motherhood and assimilation. Maaza Mengiste considers the role of identity in mourning the dead. Marco Truzzi dives into the daily life of a boy living in a Romani camp, while Sicilian playwright Lina Prosa’s Lampedusa Snow follows an African refugee in Italy’s Alpine north. Algerian–born Tahar Lamri blends strands from Italian, Arabic, German, and other Mediterranean cultures in his story of “an immobile traveler, eternally traveling” in present–day Italy. In poetry, German–born Eva Taylor considers the process of inhabiting a new land and a new language, Albanian–born Gëzim Hajdari explores transnational poetics, and Italian Giampiero Neri reflects on solitude and exile. Finally, journalist and literary critic Francesco Durante looks at migration from two angles: that of immigrant writers adopting Italian and that of native–born Italians who leave for other shores. We thank our guest editor, Alta L. Price.