I was born in a mountain village in Calabria in 1942. It was late afternoon on a Wednesday in February. My mother told me later that, just as I was coming into the world, she could hear cannons in the distance out at sea, firing from a warship against the planes which were trying to sink it.
When I was two a maniac who lived nearby killed my father, for no apparent reason, by hitting him on the head with an axe while he was working in the fields. My mother had married twice and I was the son of this second husband.
It was the autumn of ’46 and the war was barely over, its macabre stench still hovering in the air, when mother found an apple, the only one on the tree to have escaped the notice of marauders. She divided it into three parts and gave it to us three children, my two sisters and me; ( my brother, who was twenty years older than me, was a prisoner in Russia at the time) but she didn’t take any for herself. For almost three days that apple was the only food we had.