Mara Montebrusco-Gaspari near the entrance of the Bock Casemates
Photo: LaLa La Photo
Kids: You can always meet great characters in a book, but where can you meet the authors?
In her very first story, local writer Mara Montebrusco-Gaspari wrote about a girl like herself--then age 8--who was whisked away by aliens and returned to planet Earth at the age of 50. Which is kind of fitting. She continued to write stories and poems and especially songs as a girl and young woman, but was whisked away from her passion by the responsibilities of adulthood for a long time. A couple of decades later, she returned to her natural habitat--that of being the writer she was always meant to be.
It wasn’t a spaceship that returned her; it was stress and insomnia that she ended up putting to a good use. “I couldn’t sleep, so I got up in the night and wrote Igor,” she says. Like in her first story, she wrote about a young girl she knew very well who went on an amazing adventure. But this time the main character wasn’t based on herself, but on her daughter Sarah.
It’s a charming tale packed with evil muskrats, wise cats, low-life thugs, brave children and worried parents, and it all takes place locally, sprinkled with fascinating facts about Luxembourg, Echternach and the mystery of cats’ multiple lives.
It’s also sprinkled with big words--at least big for 10 year olds. “I want children to learn, I don’t want to talk down to them. By sometimes coming across words they don’t know, they learn them from the context, they grow.” Mara’s books--and there are more now than Igor--have heart as well as large vocabularies. “It was important to me to give them something good, a feeling they could take with them after they put the book down.”
Published in Luxembourgish, French and German, Igor the Cat will soon be available in English and may be made into an animated film.
Come meet Igor, Mara and her other books at the Book and Cultural fair, held as part of the Migration Festival organised by CLAE, Friday 13-Sunday 15 March at LuxExpo.