Sports is about life: Pietro Grossi
Italian author Pietro Grossi who has won the Campiello Europe Prize for his collection of short stories called Fists, enamoured the audience at the Kolkata book fair with his insights on sports, fiction and life.
Arnab Chakraborty interacts with Grossi. Excerpts:
You have made a
career out of writing about sports and its connection to people,
and the way it brings out the truths of our lives. So why
You could say it
was partly because I was a boxer myself for about 12 years and I
enjoyed boxing. Like boxing I believe every sport reflects life
in its own way. For example in that ring you are locked with a
vicious man opposite to you and you are scared of him and in the
same way life scares me sometimes because I have this constant
feeling that it is much bigger than me. So things like that are
what is so great about boxing and sports in general.
In Fists, you
talk of the movement into adulthood for two different people
with completely different backgrounds and you portray their
journey through boxing.
Well in Italy
people never become adults. You will see a lot of people with
white hair but they never really mature enough to be called
actual adults. This is completely different from countries like
India where people grow into adulthood too fast. So this was my
inspiration for the story.
Since we are on the page of
sports why did you not write about soccer as of yet?
Soccer is a really
difficult sport to write about and I donít know why. For me
however the big soccer does not really have that appeal because
of all the corruption that has been associated with it for the
past few years. Now there is a shady and misty character about
it that makes you wonder whether you are actually watching a
So will you ever write about
Yes I would like
to perhaps about minor soccer played by kids in small towns.
A lot of famous authors faced
publishing hassles at the beginning. What was your experience
with publishers and readers?
I was really very
lucky and my stories always got published by chance. I never
really had to work for it. As for readers, Italy has many nice
readers but over the years they have sharpened a bit. Still that
is nothing compared to the number of readers in India, I think I
would love to be a writer here.
So how do you like India and
Kolkata and this book fair?
Well India is like
a melting pot of profound spirituality and confusion and
complexity at the same time. As for Kolkata I like this city
very much and I would love to take a walk and get lost in its
streets. Whenever I go to any new place I like to get lost in it
and I would love to do the same here.
Of novellas and novel writing,
which do you prefer?
I guess I am more
comfortable with writing novellas. It is like your high school
girlfriend to whom you can go back to any time but a novel is
more adventurous and complex. Well I am just completed
writing a novel called Incanto. but it has been only
published in Italian for now. So for now, its rest. ó IBNS