Joseph O’Connor: “Rome is the city that I miss the most … at one point, research turned into love”

Rome is the city that I miss the most since the start of Covid. I’m writing a novel set there in the 1940s, inspired by the work of Irish priest Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty who was living in the Vatican at the time and secretly helping thousands of Roman and Allied prisoners of war. to flee from the Nazis.

The project required several extended research trips, the most recent interrupted by the outbreak of the pandemic in February 2020. But, at some point, the research turned into love. These days I have a Rome of the heart.

The multitude of bell towers, this skyline made of a pincushion. I will never be able to forget the euphoria of the first few weeks I spent there. This quartet of great and majestic basilicas in the half-light, the hundreds of dark and beautiful churches, the food, the art, the joyful life, the many languages, the glories to be encountered in the Vatican library: it was like diving a reef of wonders.

Comments are closed.