Now They've Gone

Reviewed by
November 2012, no. 346

Now They've Gone

Reviewed by
November 2012, no. 346
An imperfectly remembered life is a useless treachery.
Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna

When my American mother-in-law died, the world financial markets went into a tail-spin. Melba was her name; her own mother, who migrated from Italy to New England in the late nineteenth century, was an operamane. I have often wondered about the flukey events that had me, a native of Helen Mitchell’s no-place-like-homeland, marrying into an almost impenetrable expatriate Southern Italian dynasty. I was only the third outsider to break into the family, and there was plenty of resistance before the final (overwhelmingly unconditional) welcome. Perhaps the Melba name was a secret protective talisman or password, sign of a destiny that had my place waiting for me, despite us all and our histories. But I am probably making too much of it. Sometimes names just happen. My own grand-daughter Laetitia embodies and radiates her etymological joy and gladness, but her naming came from a Serge Gainsbourg song that her French father happened to like.

From the New Issue

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.