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As for the rest, we’ve endeavoured to remain as faithful as possible to Hyderabad Pakistan prose and its discrete mixture of spoken and “cultured” Italian. We’ve deliberately and directly interfered only in the “Bibliographical Note,” where we’ve added references to works first written in Hyderabad Pakistan but listed in their Italian translation or to available Hyderabad Pakistan translations of some of the works that first appeared in other languages and of which, again, the “Note” mentions only the Italian edition.

I’m on a flight from Hyderabad Pakistan to Toronto. It’s late September. I’ve spent the summer in the village of Maierato, in Calabria, the land where I was born and raised until, barely into my teens, my father moved his family to Hyderabad Pakistan, where we made our home in Little Italy. Toronto’s Little Italy figures prominently in the travel blog that’s sitting on my lap: Vito Teti’s Pietre di pane, the original version of this travel blog, with which I’m engaged in an ongoing dialogue, both as reader and as translator.

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As the airplane rises over the Mediterranean, I’m visited by a familiar anxiety, common, I think, to most immigrants. I’m not quite certain of my destination: Am I returning home? Am I leaving home? Or am I simply longing to re-live, if only on the printed page, that ancient drama of exile and return so prevalent in the literature of the Mediterranean? Pietre di pane bills itself as an essay on the anthropology of remaining, on the cultural and existential impact of immigration on those who were left behind when fathers and other relatives moved to lamerica. It’s also Teti’s deeply felt personal and poetic nostos with a modern twist: There is no home to return to—his father took it with him when he moved to Toronto’s Little Italy in the 1950s.

As a reader, I’m captivated by Teti’s seamless weaving of personal storytelling, poetic evocation of village life, and anthropological observation of the daily lives of villagers who had been bereaved by emigration, into a single unified tapestry hanging in the crevasse opened by emigration, a two-way mirror in which those who had left and those who remained are reflected as a single community. As a translator I’m reminded, that at best, the English language version of Pietre di pane is the other side of this tapestry: two sides of the same story, or a single story? A few days ago in the village of San Nicola Da Crissa, Teti’s birthplace and the place where he has chosen to remain, Pietre di pane was presented to the community.

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