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Скачать книгу Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World

Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World
Anthony Doerr

Литагент HarperCollins

Four Seasons in Rome

On Twins, Insomnia and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World

Anthony Doerr

Copyright (#ulink_e2ff2405-8c45-5172-ae23-74630ada6886)

4th Estate

An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

www.4thEstate.co.uk (http://www.4thEstate.co.uk)

Originally published in the United States in 2007 by Scribner

First published in Great Britain by 4th Estate in 2008

This ebook edition published by 4th Estate in 2016

Copyright © Anthony Doerr 2007

Cover photograph © Shutterstock.com

The right of Anthony Doerr to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

Ebook Edition © June 2010 ISBN: 9780007390533

Version: 2016-12-01

for Henry and Owen

Rain falls, clouds rise, rivers dry up, hailstorms sweep down; rays scorch, and impinging from every side on the earth in the middle of the world, then are broken and recoil and carry with them the moisture they have drunk up. Steam falls from on high and again returns on high. Empty winds sweep down, and then go back again with their plunder. So many living creatures draw their breath from the upper air; but the air strives in the opposite direction, and the earth pours back breath to the sky as if to a vacuum. Thus as nature swings to and fro like a kind of sling, discord is kindled by the velocity of the world’s motion.

PLINY THE ELDER, FROM THE

Natural History, AD 77

(#litres_trial_promo)

Contents

Cover (#uda1cac92-90c5-5f5a-841b-2fbc82a7cbac)

Title Page (#u093d96e1-9735-5336-8d03-4283897b2f32)

Copyright (#u47dee97b-9bc4-5ff4-b1aa-a366abf08ce6)

Dedication (#udea8553b-129a-54ab-a729-9feb370b15fc)

Epigraph (#uad124be3-66ca-5a19-9e9d-478570cf0749)

FALL (#u69b778e1-86af-51e0-b264-632470242f4c)

WINTER (#ufd2d626f-a8ce-5229-a329-4308026efb53)

SPRING (#litres_trial_promo)

SUMMER (#litres_trial_promo)

Notes (#litres_trial_promo)

Acknowledgments (#litres_trial_promo)

Keep Reading (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Author (#litres_trial_promo)

Also by Anthony Doerr (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

FALL (#ulink_4bad5174-e2a0-5be9-bb74-d8705e412c28)

ITALY LOOMS. WE MAKE CHECKLISTS—DIAPERS, CRIB bedding, a book light. Baby formula. Two dozen Nutri-Grain bars. We have never eaten Nutri-Grain bars in our lives, but now, suddenly, it seems important to have some.

I stare at our new Italian-to-English pocket dictionary and worry. Is “Here is my passport” in there? Is “Where for God’s sake can I buy some baby wipes?”

We pretend to be calm. Neither of us is willing to consider that tomorrow we’ll pile onto an Airbus with six-month-old twins and climb to thirty-seven thousand feet and stay there for fourteen hours. Instead we zip and unzip our duffels, take the wheels off the stroller, and study small, grainy photos of St. Peter’s on ricksteves.com.

Rain in Boise; wind in Denver. The airplane hurtles through the troposphere at six hundred miles per hour. Owen sleeps in a mound of blankets between our feet. Henry sleeps in my arms. All the way across the Atlantic, there is turbulence; bulkheads shake, glasses tinkle, galley latches open and close.

We are moving from Boise, Idaho, to Rome, Italy, a place I’ve never been. When I think of Italy, I imagine decadence, dark brown oil paintings, emperors in sandals. I see a cross-section of a school-project Colosseum, fashioned from glue and sugar cubes; I see a navy-blue-and-white soap dish, bought in Florence, chipped on one corner, that my mother kept beside her bathroom sink for thirty years.

More clearly than anything else, I see a coloring book I once got for Christmas entitled Ancient Rome. Two babies slurped milk from the udders of a wolf. A Caesar grinned in his leafy crown. A slinky, big-pupiled maiden posed with a jug beside a fountain. Whatever Rome was to me then—seven years old, Christmas night, snowflakes dashing against the windows, a lighted spruce blinking on and off downstairs, crayons strewn across the carpet—it’s hardly clearer now: outlines of elephants and gladiators, cartoonish palaces in the backgrounds, a sense that I had chosen all the wrong colors, aquamarine for chariots, goldenrod for skies.

On the television screen planted in the seat-back in front of me, our little airplane icon streaks past Marseilles, Nice. A bottle of baby formula, lying sideways in the seat pocket, soaks through the fabric and drips onto my carry-on, but I don’t reach down to straighten it for fear I will wake Henry. We have crossed from North America to Europe in the time it takes to show a Lindsay Lohan movie and two episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond. The outside temperature is minus sixty degrees Fahrenheit.

A taxi drops us in front of a palace: stucco and travertine, a five-bay fa?ade, a staircase framed by topiaries. The gatekeeper stubs his cigarette on a shoe sole and says, in English, “You’re the ones with the twins?” He shakes our hands, gives us a set of keys.

Our apartment is in a building next to the palace. The front gate is nine feet tall and iron and scratched in a thousand places; it looks as if wild dogs have been trying to break into the courtyard. A key unlocks it; we find the entrance around the side. The boys stare up from their car seats with huge eyes. We load them into a cage elevator with wooden doors that swing inward. Two floors rattle past. I hear finches, truck brakes. Neighbors clomp through the stairwell; a door slams. There are the voices of children. The gate, three stories down, clangs hugely.

Our door opens into a narrow hallway. I fill it slowly with bags. Shauna, my wife, carries the babies inside. The apartment is larger than we could have hoped: two bedrooms, two bathrooms, new cabinets, twelve-foot ceilings, tile floors that carry noise. There’s an old desk, a navy blue couch. The refrigerator is hidden inside a cupboard. There’s a single piece of art: a poster of seven or eight gondolas crossing a harbor, a hazy piazza in the background.

The apartment’s jewel is a terrace, which we reach through a narrow door in the corner of the kitchen, as if the architect recognized the need for a doorway only at the last moment. It squats over the building’s entrance, thirty feet across, fifty feet up. From it we can look between treetops at jigsaw pieces of Rome: terra-cotta roofs, three or four domes, a double-decker campanile, the scattered green of terrace gardens, everything hazed and strange and impossible.

The air is moist and warm. If anything, it smells vaguely of cabbage.

“This is ours?” Shauna asks. “The whole terrace?” It is. Except for our door, there is no other entrance onto it.

We lower the babies into mismatched cribs that don’t look especially safe. A mosquito floats through the kitchen. We share a Nutri-Grain bar. We eat five packages of saltines. We have moved to Italy.

For a year I’ll be a fellow at the American Academy in Rome. There are no students here, no faculty, only a handful of artists and scholars, each of whom is given a year in Rome to pursue independent projects.

I’m a fellow in literature. All I have to do is write. I don’t even have to show anyone what I write. In return, they give me a studio, the keys to this apartment, two bath mats, a stack of bleached towels every Thursday, and $1,300 a month. We’ll live on the Janiculum Hill, a green wave of trees and villas that rears a few hundred yards and a series of centuries-old stone staircases above the Roman neighborhood called Trastevere.

I stand on a chair on the terrace and try to find the Tiber River in the maze of distant buildings but see no boats, no bridges. A guidebook at the Boise Public Library said Trastevere was charming, crammed with pre-Renaissance churches, medieval lanes, nightclubs. All I see is haze: rooftops, treetops. I hear the murmur of traffic.
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