dasvidania book

From a Russian Orphanage to a Sicilian Adoptive Family: Presentation of the Novel Dasvidania by Nikolai Prestia

From a Russian Orphanage to a Sicilian Adoptive Family: Dasvidania (2021), a Novel by Nikolai Prestia
Book Presentation in Conversation with the Author 

Sunday May 29, 2022 2:30pm EST EVENT RECAP

VIDEO (English)VIDEO (Italian) VIDEO (bilingual)

Opening remarks: Dr. Jefferson Gatrall (Associate Professor of Russian)
Moderator: Dr. Teresa Fiore (Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies)

VIRTUAL EVENT in Italian with simultaneous interpretation into English by Lilia Pino Blouin

Trans-national adoption constitutes a complex form of migration at once geographical, cultural, and psycho-emotional. Dasvidania is an autobiographical book that sheds light on the experiences of a Russian boy grappling with the question of belonging, even before moving from Russia to Italy in the late 1990s. Kola/Nikolai lucidly and inventively addresses the harrowing baggage of his family of origin, his hard and yet formative years in the orphanage system, and the at once exhilarating and frightening prospect of moving to a new family, language and, ultimately, life. Prestia’s realistic and poetic writing gives voice to the importance of excavating the past in order to design a future, despite the challenges they both entail.

“Presi la mela verde che avevo messo nello zaino a colazione. La posai accanto alla finestra, e poggiando un piede sul comodino feci leva per sedermi sul davanzale. In mano avevo la mela verde del pranzo, cominciai a mangiarla. L’altra, quella presa a colazione, stava lì accanto a me a godere della pace, del silenzio. Era un modo, un rituale, attraverso il quale rievocavo il ricordo di mia madre. Feci un patto con me stesso: non avrei più associato a una cosa brutta il sacchetto di mele che mi aveva portato all’ultima visita, ma piuttosto a qualcosa di spirituale. I bambini hanno grande fantasia, e io con la fantasia me la cavavo bene. La mela verde era un modo per poterla immaginare lì vicino, accanto a me. Non importava se non era possibile un contatto fra di noi, l’idea di lei al sicuro con me in quella stanza mi faceva stare bene. Nel ricordare questa scena adesso che sono adulto penso che con quel gesto in qualche modo sistemavo il mondo” (excerpt from the book)


Nikolai Prestia was born in 1990 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. At the age of eight, together with his sister, he was adopted by an Italian couple living in Sicily. He earned a Law Degree from the University of Siena and currently lives in Rome. Dasvidania (long-listed for the Comisso Prize) is his first novel, which Marcello Fois has described as possessing the extraordinary traditional quality of this genre (see full review below). INTERVIEW 
 

Further resources

Review by Marcello Fois (La Stampa, July 2021) (in Italian)
Review by Sara Scarafia (La Repubblica Palermo, July 2021)
Radio interview at Fahrenheit (Radio 3) (in Italian)
Video interview directed by Claudio Napoli (in Italian)
For other reviews, see the book’s dedicated webpage (click on Rassegna stampa).

Short url: https://tinyurl.com/MSUdasvida