Tracy Chevalier makes her return to Festivaletteratura after twelve years, and lays before her readers two colourful patchwork blankets. Speaking about her most recent novel, The Last Runaway, with Chicca Gagliardo, she kicks off her exploration of the art of weaving, both in terms of working fabric and in creating narratives, that will unfold throughout her time here in Mantua.
In her novel, a pair of sisters leave the United Kingdom and head to America in search of a better life, going through the dual experiences of the pain of separation and rebirth in the New World. They take their colourful, heavy quilts with them, made up of numerous layers of different fabrics, which they will carefully work on to maintain their links with their refined yet repressed home country, but also to draw themselves closer to the more colourful but slightly more uncouth America.
Tracy Chevalier tells us about her patchwork, how she stitches her narratives together, stories that are always set in the past, written by hand in a cluttered office filled with memories from her own historical research, stretched out on a chaise longue. She will release a new novel in 2016. She leaves her audience in Mantua with the promise of, sooner or later, writing a story set in Italy.