Miriam Lipson: Mediterranean

June 8, 2012

This fall I will be visiting three cities of the Western
Mediterranean: Naples, Marseilles, and Tangier. These are places I’ve
always wanted to see, and they specifically appeal to me as a writer.
Vernacular urban culture is perhaps my favorite subject. I started
writing a novel about Philadelphia this year, and Naples, with its two
thousand years of urban concentration, is the source of the most
visible layer of traditional European culture in that city. Marseille
pulls together strands from all over Europe and Africa; it is the
ancient port and the modern melting pot: syncretic and unruly, and
increasingly, the gateway city for Europe’s Muslim immigrants. Tangier
has a slower pace and a different sort of appeal: it’s an interzone,
traditionally outside the law, drawing Berbers from the mountains,
migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, and Bohemian refugees from Europe
and America. I look forward to settling down for a longer visit there,
taking time to meditate on what I’ve seen.

You can read about my trip here: http://mimi-mediterranean.blogspot.com