Thin Paths: Journeys in and around an Italian Mountain Village

Thin Paths: Journeys in and around an Italian Mountain Village

Julia Blackburn / Jan 24, 2020

Thin Paths Journeys in and around an Italian Mountain Village You come across the shell of a ruined house It could be anywhere in southern Europe where people once lived and then moved away because there was no work to hold them there You might find things scatt

  • Title: Thin Paths: Journeys in and around an Italian Mountain Village
  • Author: Julia Blackburn
  • ISBN: 9780224090681
  • Page: 128
  • Format: Hardcover
  • You come across the shell of a ruined house It could be anywhere in southern Europe where people once lived and then moved away because there was no work to hold them there You might find things scattered in the empty rooms a bread oven, a broken spade, earthenware jars that still hold the pungent scent of olive oil even clothes left hanging in a cupboard, a silent cloYou come across the shell of a ruined house It could be anywhere in southern Europe where people once lived and then moved away because there was no work to hold them there You might find things scattered in the empty rooms a bread oven, a broken spade, earthenware jars that still hold the pungent scent of olive oil even clothes left hanging in a cupboard, a silent clock on a shelf, a picture cut from a newspaper pinned on a wall.The house is remote, but it is surrounded by a tracery of thin paths One path goes steeply down to a village others zigzag their way to scattered huts and stone shelters, to caves where you could hide in times of danger and to unexpected lookout points from where you could watch the approach of animals or human intruders.Julia Blackburn and her husband moved to a little house in the mountains of northern Italy in 1999 She arrived as a stranger speaking no Italian, but a series of events brought her close to the old people of the village They began to tell her stories that made the landscape come alive, repopulating it with their vivid memories Until quite recently most of them had been mezzadri, half people who were trapped in an archaic feudal system and owned by a local padrone who demanded his share of all they had even a pretty wife or daughter They were eager to talk about the old way of life and about how everything changed with the eruption of the Second World War This village was at the heart of the conflict between the fascists and the partisans, so they learnt a lot about death and fear and hunger and how men and women could hide like foxes in the mountains Write it down for us, they said, because otherwise it will all be lost Thin Paths is a celebration of the songlines of one place that could be many places it is also a celebration of the humour and determination of the human spirit.

    • ☆ Thin Paths: Journeys in and around an Italian Mountain Village || Ô PDF Download by Ä Julia Blackburn
      128 Julia Blackburn
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      Posted by:Julia Blackburn
      Published :2019-02-22T23:30:08+00:00

    About "Julia Blackburn"

      • Julia Blackburn

        Julia Blackburn is the author of several other works of nonfiction, including Charles Waterton and The Emperor s Last Island, and of two novels, The Book of Color and The Leper s Companions, both of which were short listed for the Orange Prize Her most recent book, Old Man Goya, was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award Blackburn lives in England and Italy.


    948 Comments

    1. I love Julia Blackburn's work - her memoir 'Daisy Bates in the Desert' is one of my favourite books. Add to that the fact that I live much of the year in an Italian mountain village not far from Julia's home in Liguria and you can see why this book was a must for me to read.My partner loves climbing mountains, so we've been exploring the 'thin paths' that spread like a spider's web over the slopes for several years now. These paths are very old, some of them are paved and walled and date back to [...]


    2. Tot ruim over de helft heb ik het gelezene als het ware voor kennisgeving aangenomen. Ik werd niet echt geraakt, kon geen verbindingen leggen, kon de Italiaanse bewoners niet uit elkaar houden ondanks het handige lijstje voorin. Maar gaandeweg werd ik in het zorgvuldig opgebouwde web gevangen. Julia Blackburn weeft haar thin lines methodisch, kalm en onverstoorbaar tot je midden in de wereld bent die ze je wil laten zien. De microwereld van alles wat kruipt, krioelt, zwemt, groeit, bloeit onder [...]


    3. I read this book because I know the author and have a close knowledge of the subject of the book. Whereas I take much of what I see in the Ligurian Alps at face value, Julia has the skill to scratch well below the surface and reproduce her research in an entertaining and revealing way. I will have a totally different perspective from now on.


    4. Fantastic book, far from the "making pesto with the natives" sort of book that Englishmen write about Italy and the south of France. Blackburn reunites with her 60s boyfriend at the beginning of middle age when he, a Dutchman, has bought a wreck of a house in the moutains behind San Remo near the French border, whose inhabitants seem to have been indentured to their landlords until WWII in a way untouched by Napoleonic/Liberal 19th century reform. They called themselves half-people, because they [...]


    5. 'Smalle paden' meandert als een smal weggeltje langs een heuvelflank vol geschiedenis en herinnering. In de ene bocht ontmoet je de oude bewoners van een vergeten dorpje, achter een volgende bocht schuilt het verleden van de partizanen. Blackburn gidst je over het pad, met stevige maar warme tred. Haar enthousiasme en nieuwsgierigheid springen als vonkjes op je over. Maar nergens laat ze je toe het pad te verlaten, om een klein plantje of voorwerp uit de berm te pulken, of om van een weidser uit [...]


    6. De vierde ster is er één voor de herkenbaarheid: het volgen van een waterbuis op de hellingen van Ligurië in de hoop zo terug in de bewoonde wereld te belanden, de zee die je enkel als een driehoek in de verte ziet, de oude watermolen waar de olijven geperst worden Een uitnodiging om de Middellandse Zee even achter je te laten en één van de smalle bergwegen te nemen naar plaatsen waar de natuur (ook heel mooi verfilmd in 'Io sono l'amore') nog de bovenhand heeft.


    7. Ik moest lange tijd wennen aan het 'genre', iets tussen fictie en non-fictie in. Alsof de schrijfster niet kon kiezen wat het moest worden. Waardoor ik mij bijvoorbeeld afvroeg waarom ze in één adem ging samenwonen met Herman in Italië, zonder te vertellen waarom, hoe ze elkaar weer hadden gevonden en wat voor gevoel daar bij kwam. Ergens werd zelfs nog gesuggereerd dat ze zelf nog kinderen had?De keuze om vanuit de ik-vorm te schrijven, vanuit haarzelf begrijp ik dus niet; want feitelijk was [...]


    8. 3½ starsEnjoyed this account of an English woman who married and moved to a tiny village in the Italian Mountains. I admire the way she became part of the community. I also liked the way she was honest and realistic about her life and that of the villagers - it was not written through rose coloured glasses.Not sure I could deal with the scorpions in quite the way she does!The book was beautifully written but I wish there had been more about the author's current life and less about the history o [...]


    9. Just as she walks the paths, sometimes finding new places and sometimes retracing all or part of the way, so the book moves forward adding new pieces of knowledge and understanding to places visited before and bringing them more and more to life, travelling through the past (recounted memories, memorials,unplanned human marks) through the present (very specific and beautifully described details) and through ideas about the future (fears, plans, speculations). I love the sense of place and time, [...]


    10. The book was not what I expected as it does not follow a traditional narrative. The best way I can describe it is a collection of conversations the author has with old Italian people, mainly farmers. It is a charming, ambling tale that really transported me to the Italian mountains even though it is an area I've barely visited myself. I learnt some aspects of history that I wasn't familiar with. The raw honesty was refreshing. Living in remote countryside is realistically portrayed with all it's [...]


    11. In one of my favorite chapters, Blackburn picks up a fragment of tombstone. No name remains, just "your memory shall live in our hearts." She takes the fragment home and makes a kind of memorial with it. Blackburn does not sentimentalize; she tells this incident with an understated, poetic precision. Her memoir likewise attends to various fragments of the lives of her community in the Ligurian mountains,


    12. Written in a simple observational style, this book draws you into the detail and daily life on a mountain. The delight the author takes in the small gestures of life around her is evident and infectious. You get a very keen sense of space and of the connection between the villages and the inhabitants. At the close of the book I felt I was leaving a group of friends.


    13. Blackburn's emerging relationship with the mountain and its people is the raw beauty which runs throughout this book. The stories grow and blossom as she befriends and wins the trust of people who have stories they can't wait to share and secrets and wounds they have locked away until someone like Blackburn, a gentle listener arrives. This is an incredible book.


    14. Something about the book compels you to move along with the characters. Julia Blackburn has obvious affection and respect for the old people who lived in her village, many of whom suffered hardship through the war years. She has a rare connection to the land and people.


    15. I really enjoyed reading this. It was gentle but engrossing. My only complaint was that I wanted more of the back story, about how Julia & Herman met and fell in love. Maybe that's in another book so I will investigate



    16. Beautiful descriptive writing that captures the lives of the people and the terrain of a mountain village in Italy.



    17. This began as a series of five stories for BBC Radio and that is perhaps why it is a bit disjointed, a bit fragmented. It is a testimony for a lost way of life and such is quite fascinating.


    18. Wasn't a fan of the style of the writing, it meandered too much for me to enjoy. But it was nice reading about Italy, and I found the parts about the partisans interesting.


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