A City Lights / Italian Voices Book
"Elaborately imagined...mini-catalog of great artists’ dreams and the author’s interpretation of the last three days in the life of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. Tabucchi’s rich language and his magical-realist charm tinge the volume with a visionary glow."—Publishers Weekly
" A lovely little book that keeps ringing in your head long after you’ve finished it."—Kirkus
DREAM OF DAEDALUS,
ARCHITECT AND AVIATOR
One night, thousands of years ago, at a time impossible to calculate exactly, Daedalus, architect and aviator, had a dream.
He dreamed that he was deep inside an immense palace and he was going through a corridor. The corridor opened into another corridor and Daedalus, tired and confused, walked along it, leaning on the walls. When he had come to the end, the corridor opened into a small octagonal room, from which eight corridors branched out. Daedalus began to feel short of breath and a need for fresh air. He entered one corridor, but it ended against a wall. He went into another, but it too ended against a wall. Seven times Daedalus made an attempt until, on the eighth attempt, he entered a very long corridor that, after a series of curves and corners, led out into another corridor. Daedalus then sat down on a marble step and began to reflect. On the corridor walls were flaming torches that illuminated frescoes blue with birds and flowers.
I'm the only one who could know how to get out of here, Daedalus said to himself, and I don't remember. He took off his sandals and began to walk barefoot on the green marble floor.
To console himself, he began to sing an ancient dirge he had learned from an old servant who had rocked his infant cradle. The arcades of the long corridor carried his voice back to him ten times over.
I'm the only one who could know how to get out of here, said Daedalus, and I don't remember.
At that moment, he came out into a wide, circular room frescoed with absurd landscapes. He remembered that room but he couldn't remember why he remembered it. There were seats covered with luxurious fabrics and, in the middle of the room, a large bed. On the edge of the bed was seated