Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere by Jan Morris

This lovely book is the author’s last, and declared as such. It is about Trieste but also about the passing of time, identity and what truly matters. Here is a short excerpt, apposite to our times of rising nationalism:

“There are people everywhere who form a Fourth World, or a diaspora of their own. They are the lordly ones! They come in call colours. They can be Christians or Hindus or Muslims or Jews or pagans or athiests. They can be young or old, men or women, soldiers or pacifists, rich or poor. They may be patriots, but they are never chauvinists. They share with each other, across all nations, common values of humour and understanding. When you are among them you know you will not be mocked or resented, because they will not care about your race, your faith, your sex or your nationality, and they suffer fools if not gladly, at least sympathetically. They laugh easily. They are easily grateful. They are never mean. They are not inhibited by fashion, public opinion or political correctness. They are exiles in their own communities, because they are always in a minority, but they form a mighty nation, if they only knew it. It is the nation of nowhere, and I have come to think that its natural capital is Trieste.”

It is a very elegaic book, calm and thoughtful, and lovely to read.

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