Frank Westerman goes back to his roots in this literary reportage devoted to the great hydraulic works. The book tells the parallel fates of the Vajont dam and MOSE in Venice, and places them side by side with the stories of two French dams in Normandy, whose demolition will allow salmons to repopulate the Sélune River.
For Westerman, engineering is the starting point for a narrative around life and man’s attempts to master its flows, and it becomes an observatory to explore the social tensions and conflicts that large-scale works always catalyse. Weaving a plot of speculation and myths of progress, as well as struggles for environmental justice and images of floods, Westerman transforms water and large hydraulic artifacts into metaphors to read the contemporary world.
Curious, determined and never dogmatic, Westerman offers a narrative that, like salmons, always rides upstream.
Frank Westerman is one of the most important contemporary Dutch writers, translated into 17 languages. An engineer by training who turned to journalism, he is the author of reportage books on the topics of racism, culture, identity and power, including Ingegneri di Anime, El Negro e Io, Ararat, I soldati delle parole and the recent Noi, Umani, all published in Italy by Iperborea.