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Vali Myers: A Memoir Hardcover – September 1, 2007
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You saw in her eyes the personalization of something torn and loose and deep down primitive in all of us. --George Plimpton, The Paris Review
Valis dogs, Vali's tress, Vali's donkey, the birds, the flowers, the caves, the spiders of Vali. We have seen for the first time the old skeleton of nature. --Bernardo Bertolucci, film-maker, Last Tango in Paris, Stealing Beauty
Vali Myers ... lived her life without fear. --Julia Inglis, author, The Heavy Dress
About the Author
For thirty years, Gianni Menichetti, the author of this memoir, lived with Vali Meyers in the wild canyon of 'Il Porto' - first as a lover and willing slave, ultimately as a friend, confidant, and protector. In his frank, loving and fascinating book, he gives us Vali and the Valley. Gianni Menichetti is an artist and poet, whose work is represented in numerous private collections in Europe, America, and Australia. He has received three distinguished awards at the international 'Gypsy Friend' Arts Competition, Lanciano, Italy. His books include The Land of Kali, A Tree of Tatters, and Poems to the Gypsies, as well as Il Porto, storia di un canyon selvaggio, (in English and Italian) and Storie di cani (in Italian). He still lives in Il Porto, in the little Moorish pavilion he shared with Vali for so many years.
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I found this book to be an engrossing, highly intimate and revealing insight into the true character of the enigmatic artist and personality which was Vali Myers.
Gianni Menichetti gives his readers an undoubtedly unique perspective on Vali which noone but himself could provide - as noone lived as closely with her for so many decades as he did. I found his raw and emotional honesty about the wonderful and awful times he experienced during his relationship with Vali very disarming, and often profoundly moving.
This book shows us a new side to a woman that so many fans (including myself) have ardently admired and even become obsessed with - not only for her incredible artistic talent but for her passionate and individual approach to life and her mesmerising appearance, style and persona. In all the years I have followed her work and life through her art, various books, articles, films, photographs and exhibitions, this book gave me the fullest and most balanced and seemingly realistic portrayal of what she was really like as a human being, rather than as a charismatic and unattainable enigma.
How Gianni has chosen to describe his journey with Vali: the way in which he became addicted to his wonderful life with her, followed by the gradual descent over many years from an idyllic and romantic existence to an emotionally and physically abusive one is truly remarkable. His often poetic and very personal style of writing is lovely, peppered with snippets of prose and poetry, and gives the reader a true sense of the man behind the words. After being emotionally and physically shackled to Vali for the majority of his adult life, his ultimately isolated existence as something of a hermit surrounded by animals in a remote mountain valley seems both beautiful and tragic, for such a sensitive soul who appears to crave love and connection as well as freedom.
I enjoyed the photos and images in the book, as well as the detailed descriptions of the many artists, personalities and characters which Vali met and interacted with during her amazing life. Gianni illustrates the stellar trajectory of her life from the beginning to its end, and gives us excellent detail on every stage from her upbringing and youth in Australia, through the famous Paris years, the life she made in her secluded valley in Italy, her many selling and exhibiting trips back and forth to New York and Amsterdam, followed by her final years and end in Melbourne, Australia.
I devoured this book and found it so easy to read, and a fascinating perspective on the complex relationship between Vali and Gianni. It left me with a totally different view of Vali Myers, and the harsh ferocity with which she approached her life and many of the people she was close to. I also felt a real sadness for Gianni's struggle to co-exist with such a strong and forceful individual as Vali Myers was, a struggle which apparently continues on to this day, years after her death. As he stumbled into her world at the age of 19, she shaped him in her own image as one would a piece of yielding clay...and to me it seems his life was never truly his own ever since.
Gianni's generosity of spirit and his sensitivity and passion shine through the pages of this book. He has shared Vali's story and his own with the world - and in doing so has provided a rich and important history of the spell-binding life which was Vali Myers.
It's a lovely and at times moving memoir of their lives together and beautiful descriptions of their valley in Positano.
it is a little odd..but very interesting read.Vali is a little odd for some people to take.. but I love her ways ..and the way she dresses in the layered skirts I too do this.. She has an abudance of different animals ..( which ) I do too.
I see a little of my self in her.