“My father played jazz e his twenties, in postwar Italy, no money in his pockets, but echoes of America in his ears. Together with his cousin he tried to migrate to Australia. His problem was that during the war, barely fourteen, he had been wounded and lost an eye: in 1951 the Australian Department of Immigration accepted his cousin but rejected him as disabled. When I was born, I inherited his restlessness, his longing for the elsewhere. I grew up listening to him singing in English and reciting passages of novels in English, and accepting his reading suggestions: Conrad rst of all, then Hemingway, Steinbeck, Dos Passos, Fitzgerald—all writers on the move, ex-patriates open to the world. A man paralyzed by fate, my father passed on to me the gene of permanent mobility and the lust for the frontier. Only now, after almost four decades from the child that I was, do I realize that I have unconsciously made my life his dream. All my choices, my studies, my interests, my professions have taken me away from my roots, in a never-ending search for other territories, other horizons. For him, I have crossed borders, opened new life trajectories, and immersed myself in cultural streams away from my origins. Even the man who would become my life and road companion needed to ful ll those requirements of impermanence and derootedness. My husband, S., was born in Jeddah, after his migrant father left Eritrea (when Italy lost the war and its colonies) and crossed the Red Sea instead of repatriating. Thus S. grew up in Saudi Arabia, speaking Italian at home, Arabic with the locals, and English with the expatriates: a foreigner by birth, a cosmopolitan by vocation, and, like me, a neonomad by choice.” (Dagnino, Transcultural Writers, p. 23)

“I don’t believe people when they say, ‘my home is Germany.’ Either they haven’t thought about it thoroughly, or they are lying, because I’m sure their home is where their loved ones are, where mother is, or where their children are, where they grew up. It’s the soccer pitch where you have spent your youth, the ice-cream parlor where you kissed a girl for the first time, stuff like that. I think people are being intellectually dishonest when they dispute that belonging is extremely subjective, extremely intimate, extremely personal, and extremely limited in space.” (Ilija Trojanov quoted in Dagnino,Transcultural Writers, p. 31)

“At the beginning …  living away from London, I was very concerned that my intimacy with contemporary English was going, that I didn’t know of new words that were being invented and I was anxious about that, I was anxious about the sound of contemporary English. But then I also realized that my books sold better in Germany than in England, some of them sold better in Italy and some other sold better in Holland. Thus you become aware of an international public and, even without thinking, as you write you begin addressing a different audience and because you are addressing a different audience the kind of stories you are telling begin to shift a little and I think to a certain extent the style you use begins to shift. And then all of sudden I thought, ‘No, this is much better, my English is becoming quite personal but also lexically is becoming quite pure.’ In other words, I was eliminating all the idiomatic phrases that are invented in the London scene, so that now my language perhaps is more easily projected towards an international scene. The most interesting fact is that this is not peculiar to English: the same is happening to many other writers in many other languages.” (Tim Parks quoted in Dagnino,Transcultural Writers, p. 36)

“I sense a very true belong- ing within the German language, despite the fact that my mother tongue is Bulgar- ian and that I grew up playing and joking in Swahili. I sense a belonging when I’m walking through the streets of Sophia, when I’m in Mumbai, or when I’m in many countries in Africa. I miss Africa in general, with its sounds, its smells, its lights.” (Ilija Trojanov quoted in Dagnino,Transcultural Writers, pp. 30-31)

“I think that one’s writing is far more identified with a style, with an education, with writers that you admire and who have gone before you than with a national, ethnic, or religious belonging. It’s not necessarily where you come from, it’s where you read from.” (Brian Castro quoted in Dagnino, Transcultural Writers, p. 49)

“Sometimes having to deal with strangers is problematic … because there is a certain trauma in hospitality, you see, so if you want to be hospitable you have to take on some kind of trauma and not many people realize that ‘Hey, my trauma is actually my gain: if I open up my house I’ll obviously lose certain things but at the same time what it’s doing is making me confront my own face.’ Thus, yes, I feel there is always a sense of danger and loss to accept and a lot of people are closed to accepting anything. I also think that appearances are on the surface and yet so deep in certain ways. For example, when I went to certain parts of Southern China, because of my looks, I was considered Siberian: the Chinese were very astute in recognizing that ‘I am not’ Chinese. That was very interesting and confronting at the same time.” (Brian Castro quoted in Dagnino, Transcultural Writers, p. 56)

“If I have allegiances they are to people and ideas, not to places, countries, or nations … but that’s not the same thing as belonging, isn’t it? … I know, those who think like that are considered unreliable … but this doesn’t mean that they don’t have ties anyway, strong ties, the ties of being identifed that way. Is it only ties to ‘a place’ that make someone the opposite of shifty and unpredictable?” (Inez Baranay quoted in Dagnino, Transcultural Writers, p. 66)

“To stay in a place is to constantly change your experience of that place. Leave it, and you can fix the place in your memory by composing that memory. As I understand the way memory works, an event is remembered once: the next time you remember it, that memory has already changed. So the memory of any particular event is always a bit different, even if you don’t realize it.” (Inez Baranay quoted in Dagnino, Transcultural Writers, p. 68)

“When you speak different languages you realize that you don’t think in the same way in the different languages; in other words, the same thoughts don’t come to you in the different languages you know.” (Alberto Manguel quoted in Dagnino, Transcultural Writers, p. 76)

“You become very aware of the extent to which your thoughts will fit into a pattern that language makes possible. You have different thoughts in English and you have different thoughts in Italian.” (Tim Parks quoted in Dagnino, Transcultural Writers, p. 77)

“At any point in my life I would define myself in that moment, so not in a moment of change but in a moment of being a certain person and having a certain viewpoint. I suppose that at my age I might say I have an almost endless accumulation of such identities, but that at any given point I see myself in that moment, in that place. Moreover, even if I had a definite identity I would never know how to define it because as in physics the only place that you can’t see is the place in which you are standing.” (Alberto Manguel quoted in Dagnino, Transcultural Writers, p. 78)

“I think that a dynamic must be established in which the culture defines and the individuals redefine … and that when that dynamics stops, and the individuals simply take on what is offered officially by that culture, that culture dies. That is what happens in totalitarian regimes under fascism or communism but also under the consumer culture of capitalism: you are offered cultural points of reference that are not open for discussion. (Alberto Manguel quoted in Dagnino, Transcultural Writers, p. 78)

“Here I was, back to the labyrinth, I thought, dismayed but also excited. Here I was, back to where I had started, rolling up the ball of thread around the rings of an in nite library that did not provide answers. The circle—without beginning or ending—remained the most ancient and sacred symbol, as the mandalas, the wheels of dharma, the concentric signs of shamanic medicine, the whirling dervishes, the aboriginal paintings still reminded us. “Fate takes on shapes that keep repeating themselves,” Borges wrote in one of his letters to Estela Canto, “there are circling patterns; now this one appears again: again I’m in Mar del Plata, longing for you” (qtd. in Manguel, “Borges” 50). In this ecstatic and circular movement inside and outside me, I would see again the Theodosian walls, the Galata Tower built by my Ligurian ancestors, with different eyes or, perhaps, with the same eyes. Surely with a new perspective.” (Dagnino,Transcultural Writers, p. 41)