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Interview with Cíntia Moscovich

Born in Porto Alegre in 1958, Cíntia Moscovich reviews books for the daily newspaper Zero Hora and has worked as translator, copy-editor, press assistant, literary consultant and teacher, as well as having directed Rio grande do Sul’s state Book Institute. Her first solo work, the short story collection “O Reino das cebolas”, was shortlisted for the Jabuti award. She is also the author of a well-praised novel, “Duas iguais” and of “Por que sou gorda, mamãe?” (Editora Record), published in Italy as “Mamma, perché sono grassa?” from Cavallo di Ferro Editore.

Your book is very touching for the difficult relationship between mother and daughter which you describe.
Relationships, in general, are difficult. I mean, people are not that easy, each one has a special desire and a singular point of view. I think that motherhood makes life a bit complicated but on the other hand, of course, motherhood makes life enchanting and delicious. Jewish mothers are the most precious thing God has created. And the more complicated.

How much of yourself is there in this book?
Plenty of me is in this book. I was born in a jewish family, with a jewish father and, of course, a jewish mother. A huge jewish mother, by the way. I had all the fun and joy a jewish family can provide to a child, my parents wanted me to be educated and raised with the best money could buy - I was expensive. But this “parental dedication” costed too much suffering and guilt on the other hand. All my life I felt guilty, I felt I wasn´t good enough for such a wonderful mom. At that time I discovered the power of laughing. And I began to laugh. And to write.

It seems that you had the exigency to explain the history of Jewish diaspora, even though with your modern, amusing and a bit ironic language.
I didn´t have any exigency, except that individual need to tell my people´s saga. I´m very proud of my people, they´re brave and funny: they are exceptional to write about. I thank you very much for saying that my language is amusing and a bit ironic. I didn´t mean to build such a special language. It is simply the best way I´ve found to live and write.

The worst consequences of the Jewish emigration to Brazil.
Brazil accepted my family, gave us the opportunity to work, to study and to live with dignity. The worst consequence of Jewish emigration to the New World is assimilation, is when jews don’t know deeply inside the heart they are jews. Maybe this is not that bad. But I´m concerned about our history and traditions survival.

Among your characters there are three aunts “grober” like whales: three very fat clumsy women. In your opinion are people afraid to become fat?
Oh, absolutely! People are in panic about becoming fat. And they have all the reasons of the world for that. Being fat is a horrorible thing, is felling bad all the time, as if you had a moral debility. The worst thing in being fat is that moral wound, is your soul heavy and dirty, because you´re not normal.

How becoming fat or obese can change people inside?
Being fat hurts, being obese hurts even more. You have that felling you can not command your life, that food is in charge. It´s hell. And food is in charge.

The main ingredient of a diet, I mean… to succeed with a diet.
The three main ingredients of a diet are: close your mouth, exercise yourself and pray a lot.

Do you like cooking? Which is your favourite dish?
I don´t like cooking, I don´t know how to cook, except some pasta (“al sugo” and “pesto” sauces) My favourite dish? It´s a big problem, I don´t dislike anything. I like food in general.

Which Italian dishes do you know?
I know and I like ALL Italian dishes, mainly bread, pasta and pizza. And all the dishes with olive oil and parmesan cheese. Or any other cheese. Italian food is outstanding.

Your next projects.
I´m writing short stories for a book I have to deliver until the end of the year. But I’m also thinking in a novel and writing for children. I make several projects, only a few come true.

Thank you for the time you spent with us, Cíntia, and we look forward to reading your next books, hope that they will always published in Italy too.


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