Ein Haus im Veneto

Die enge staubige Straße, die Sonne, die wie ein glühender Stab zwischen der Madonna am einen und der verfallenen Flaschenfabrik am anderen Ende liegt, die vielköpfige Familie von Gegenüber, die im Sommer bis spät in die Nacht draußen Ping-Pong spielt – pock, pock, pock – und dann, kaum daß sie schlafen gegangen sind, lautes Hundegebell, das unvermittelt auf der anderen Seite unseres kleinen palazzo ertönt, knallende Fensterläden, ein Brotbrocken, der mit einem Schwall von Flüchen nach draußen geworfen wird… das ist die Via Colombare. Nachdem ich mich schließlich zu diesem Buch hatte überreden lassen, machte mir das Schreiben großen Spaß. Und fiel mir irgendwie ganz leicht.

Ich wohnte seit fast zehn Jahren in einem Vier-Familienhaus, zusammen mit einer bunten Mischung aus Leuten, die in alle möglichen häuslichen Intrigen verwickelt waren, sowohl untereinander als auch mit den übrigen Nachbarn in der kleinen Straße. Und als ich dort einzog, war ich jung genug (26) gewesen, um offen, interessiert und neugierig zu sein, mit jedem reden und über alles Bescheid wissen zu wollen. Letzten Endes kam mir in dieser Straße zu Bewußtsein, was Italien ausmacht: Baugesetze (und wie man sie umgeht), Weinstockbeschneidung, Auberginen, Bewässerungsbeschränkungen (und wie man sie ignoriert), religiöse Prozessionen, Beerdigungen.

Ich war nicht aus einer besonderen Vorliebe für das Land hergekommen (obwohl ich mich hier inzwischen durchaus wohlfühle), auch nicht eines bestimmten Vorhabens wegen, sondern bloß, weil meine Frau mir diesen Ausweg anbot, diese Gelegenheit, es in aller Ruhe zu nichts zu bringen, weit weg von den erfolgreichen Freunden in London. Wenn niemand veröffentlichen will, was man schreibt, dann gibt es keinen geeigneteren Ort, dem Leistungsdruck zu entrinnen als die Via Colombare. Sie ist der Gipfel der Provinzmentalität, falls man von so etwas sprechen kann.

Komischerweise war es dann ausgerechnet mein Buch über diese Straße, das mir den größten internationalen und kommerziellen Erfolg einbrachte. Endlich hatte ich etwas beinahe uneingeschränkt Liebenswertes geschrieben, ein Buch ohne eine Spur jenes dumpfen Unbehagens, das meine Rezensenten in den Romanen unweigerlich ausmachen. Aber zum Teufel mit den Rezensenten! (Obwohl einige von ihnen zu liebenswürdig sind). Verzichten wir hier ruhig ganz auf die Pressestimmen zu Ein Haus im Veneto, auch wenn sie äußerst schmeichelhaft waren. Stattdessen biete ich Ihnen ein, zwei Seiten aus dem Buch an und dazu ein paar Schnappschüsse des betreffenden Hauses, vielleicht sogar, falls sie es mir erlaubt, einen von der kaum erwähnten zweiten Hauptfigur der Geschichte (die das Buch so wunderbar – und erfolgreich – ins Italienische übersetzt hat), von Rita, meiner Frau.

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