Novel by Alan Alfredo Geday

Extract (Part II)

“Dear Mama,

As you can see, I haven’t forgotten you. I’ve been in Marseille for four months now; the time has flown by. I’ve had so much to do, and learn, and explore. It’s a huge city. I found it overwhelming at first, but there’s a magic about it as well. I feel so free here; not knowing anyone is a wonderful feeling. Livorno is just a village compared to Marseille. I think it would be impossible for me to live there again, I’d feel like I was shut up in a cell. There’s work to be had here; you can try to make something of yourself. There are lots of Italians in Marseille, so it hasn’t been too hard to fit in. We all live as a community in the Belle de Mai neighbourhood. The French call us the ‘babi’. You often see posters up in the street saying: “Italians out – French jobs for French people!” A few scammers have even offered me a false ID card if I vote for the socialist party. But with my accent and my limited vocabulary, it will be a while before they stop calling me a macaroni. I guess those idiots haven’t tried our food if they think it’s an insult to call me that! I miss your cacciucco and our long talks.”

English