Words Without Borders posted a rich interview with writer Nadia Mifsud today. Her thoughts about her native city of Valletta, which she left sixteen years ago and recently visited, remind me of my own complex feelings for my native Sarajevo, which, like her Valletta, keeps on creeping into what I write. Below is an excerpt from the interview, in which Mifsud discusses the city. You can read the entire interview on Words Without Borders.
Recent archeological studies have uncovered an intricate web of tunnels under the city—a vast maze of wells and reservoirs, sewers and war shelters that very few people know about. I haven’t had the opportunity of peeping inside this subterranean Valletta yet—the tunnels are not open to the public—but I like to pace through the streets imagining all kinds of strange happenings going on in this mysterious underworld. Another extraordinary detail is Caravaggio’s Beheading of St John in St. John’s Co-Cathedral. It is Caravaggio’s largest painting, and the only one that bears his signature (discernible in the blood spilling from the saint’s throat!). It is a truly haunting masterpiece. Of course, it is one of the main tourist attractions in Valletta, but I wonder how many locals have actually had a close look at it.