Ocean is a woodcutter, a husband, a father, and a book. The book you are now reading. The book that saves his life from oblivion, because his memory is fading fast. The older he gets, the less he remembers, and these pages will outlive him. They tell a story that has the force of a bolt of lightning splitting a fi tree.
Oceano Giovanni Maria Del Favero is born prematurely on a cart pulled by mules who are not too happy to be doing their job, just after his family left their mountain village to go and seek their fortune in America. Abandoned at birth, he is adopted by a couple from a tiny village in the Dolomites, with the ironic result that he is soon on his way back to the mountains, this time by train, with his new family. His life is an uphill struggle, every step up the rocky path of his existence followed inevitably by ten steps backwards.
Walking alongside him on this path, as he works into his old age, chopping and sculpting wood, and scything grass in the high pastures until he can no longer feel his fingers, are Italia, Sandrino e Basta, Nonno Giusto, and Giovannino. He finds true love where he least expects it. He even stumbles across his own grave in the village cemetery up in Nebbiù, on returning from a war he had no intention of fighting.
He walks and walks, trips, regains his balance, but never stops smiling, even after he has lost most of his teeth. He follows the path of his life all the way to the end, when, just shy of 100, he finally discovers the most evident of truths and smiles for the last time, filled with happiness.
Francesco Vidotto was born in 1976, and this is already an achievement. After graduating in Economics, and twelve years of business consulting, he realized that time was the most important ingredient for a rich life. He gave in his notice and went to live in the village of Tai, in the Cadore region of the Dolomites. He prefers having a few hours’ free rather than a wallet stuffed with bills. He writes stories about ordinary, humble people.
“I love writing stories. I love invention and make believe. I love magic, elves, and gnomes. But what I love the most is looking for stories about the meek. I like giving the stories of their lives new dignity and permanence by writing about them.”
His books include: Il selvaggio (Carabba, 2005), Signore delle Cime (Carabba, 2007), Siro (Minerva Edizioni, 2011, winner of the 2011 Cortina d’Ampezzo prize for mountain literature and the 2013 eLEGGERE LIBeRI prize in Tione di Trento), Zoe (Minerva Edizioni, 2013, winner, with Oceano, of the 2015 Torre Petrosa national literary prize).