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Readable and tasteful text about rural life in southern Istria

Vladimiro Gagliardi: °Mog kruha isti nes!” (You will not eat my bread!), Literary club “Uljanik”, Pula, 2004

Saturday, 13 November 2004.

Vladimiro Gagliardi is not an unknown name on the Istrian literary scene. He has been writing poetry and prose in Cakavian and Istrio-Vetetian dialects, as well in the literary Croatian language, for many years. His first works were published in “Glas Istre”, “La Voce del Popolo”, in the revue “La Battana”, in a collection “Versi na sterni” (Verses on the cistern), in an anthology “Per molti versi” (For many verses), and he also received many rewards and recognitions, from the competition for culture and art “Istria Nobilissima” to the international competition in Trieste ”Etniepoesie”, and for the “Drago Gervais” competition. To date, he has published six books, starting with his poetic collection “Vitri gromac nasih” (Winds of our stone-piles).

In the latest book “Mog kruha isti nes!” (You will not eat my bread!), he again describes the scenes of rural life in southern Istria, portraying the littoral landscape and reviving happenings that are tied to this locality.

The book is printed in two editions: in Cakavian and in Italian translation. The author finds the language that best fits the place of action and the ambience, and in so doing he expresses his intimate knowledge of the villages and cities and their recent and distant past.

Pula, Mutvoran, Kavran, Vareski, and Pavicini are only some of those places where the action of the new novel take place, the whole of which can be readily read in one breath. Written in excellent Cakavian dialect, tastefully and vividly, it brings up the story of a strong village woman whose life story we follow through her remembrances, as well as through the memories of the daughter. Concise dialogues, short, suggestive descriptions and a vivid way of narrating without repetition or monotony, makes this novel very easy and fast reading, but it is by no means superficial.

In the Cakavian version of the novel we find literary Italian sentences, as well as proverbs, sayings where the author shows the multilingual and multicultural life of this area, which is also visible in the rural aspects of their life.

The whole story can be synthesized into ten sentences, but not the psychological profile of its personalities which become more pronounced to the reader from one page to the next. This is the way that the author emphasizes that a book describing rural settings is not automatically less important. Using expressions in dialect he is able to achieve interesting nuances in a psychological definition of the characters as well as in defining the internal and external environment and the relationship of the characters in various episodes.

The family that Gagliardi describes has its highs and lows, and the focus is on the single mother who, with sacrifices and self-depravation, succeeds in raising her children. Here also he describes village gossip, treacherous and wicked, completely opposite to the thinking of the main heroine who has not been graced by life.

By reading this book one gets to know the villages and customs of southern Istria, and everything becomes clear thanks to the black and white photographs from the author’s album which accompany the story.

At the end of the book there is a dictionary of less known words where, in 13 pages, the author translates expressions from dialect into literary Croatian.  

The editor is Denis Kontosic, the reviewer dr. Ante Dabo, and the author himself was involved in the design of the title page and graphic arrangements.

Vanessa Begic

(Traslated to English by Pino Golja and Bruno Clapci)



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Created: Saturday, November 13, 2004; Last Updated:Monday, August 10, 2015
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