When the Mountains Dance

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781474614658

Price: £10.99

ON SALE: 28th March 2024

Genre: Lifestyle, Sport & Leisure / Travel & Holiday / Travel Writing

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‘In the wake of the strongest earthquake in Italy for nearly forty years and the many aftershocks that followed, Italians began speaking of the earth beneath our feet as la terra ballerina, the dancing earth. The dance they spoke of was unrelenting.’

Foreign correspondent Christine Toomey spent years renovating her glorious, long-abandoned hill-top home in Le Marche, Italy, as a haven of rest from covering crises around the world. But in 2016, the peace and beauty of this beloved landscape were thrown into chaos when a series of powerful earthquakes struck the heart of the Apennines.

Wracked with grief for a place still reverberating with seismic aftershocks, Christine decided that one way of preserving the community was to tell its history.

Fuelled by the artefacts uncovered in her attic – including oil paintings and lithographs, a map, thick with dust but showing details of the earthquake that obliterated Messina in 1908, and century-old letters belonging to the enigmatic priest who had occupied her house a century earlier – Christine set out on a journey to tell the story of the earthquakes that devastated the region.

The result is a heartfelt, insightful and life-affirming story about the places that make us, and the life-changing thunderbolts that can come at all of us, at any time, from any quarter.

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Reviews

A brilliant memoir
Mariella Frostrup
An optimistic, airy book with high cultural references. From the drama of the earthquake, from that dancing of the mountains, from those territories damaged but not vanquished, Christine shows us all of them
Adolfo Leoni, Il Resto Del Carlino
A beautifully written, many-layered and poetic book . . . As well as a description of an existential disaster, this is also a meditation on the fragility of the human state and mind and life itself. Brilliant! There is deep meditation here
Adam Williams, author of THE BOOK OF THE ALCHEMIST
Engaging and contemplative
Caroline Moorehead, TLS