Barbara Garlaschelli – Mermaid

Suffering without rhetoric

One day in the month of August 1981, Barbara Garlaschelli, who is both the author and the main character of this novel, is on holiday with her parents at the seaside. The day is long and the sun burning; what is there better than a dive diving into the water to lower temperature cool down? She’s sixteen: do you think it is going to be difficult for her with all the energy her body has?
She has done it a billion of times; three steps and then she takes the plunge the take off: splash, a sprinkling splash of water and then, down, underwater. But the place she has chosen for her dive is not deep enough: Barbara hits her head on a stone and she remains on the water, breathless, floating on her stomach; fully conscious aware but unable to move.
She is assisted. Assistance arrives and, once in the hospital, she undergoes several operations. Her body, subject to long and exhausting rehabilitations, finally sees the light.
She fights against a destiny bigger than her will. Her father’s and her mother’s love and that of all those who believe in her, in her lively and smart character are sap key to for her rebirth. And Barbara turns into a beautiful mermaid.
In this book, Barbara tells us about all the pains that her body was subjected to. Destiny teaches her that, if you love life, you must fight to live it. And She presents herself to the readers with clenched fists. “I am tetraplegic”, she writes, “my body underwent a metamorphosis, I like writing, I write for myself, but mostly to be read by you”.
In this book she tells us about troubles and love but especially the vulnerability and the strength of a girl and a woman resolute to make it, to live her life at any price.
Here, among us, is a writer with eyes sparkling eyes which are full of joy; sitting on in a wheelchair.
Thank you, Barbara, for describing what feelings and pain are; and thanks also to your parents as well for fighting and leaving us the continuity of their life.
An excellent example of a moving book that is worth deserves to be read by everybody. Exemplary.

Translation by Paola Roveda (edited by Sabrina Macchi)