Rupert Grech’s ‘Stories My Parents Told Me’ is a lovely collection, based on stories his parents handed down of Malta during the period of World War Two. Rupert Grech has conveyed the stories with skill and charm. They make for a very engaging read, and one learns about Malta in the process. Through tales about dolls and grapes and a ‘house without rent’ and four others, the reader feels immersed in Malta – its folklore, its history and culture. Through these stories, told with enormous affection, we experience the backdrop of war and suffering but also the foreground of human spirit, family life and the unexpected. Religion, social divisions, ‘Empire Day’, memorable individual characters (including a “Quasimodo type”), lampuki, prickly pear, Gozo, local music bands, Dun Gorg and Il Muzew, ghosts… and, of course, emigration, all feature in the tapestry that has been so finely woven by the author.
Like Rupert Grech, I was very fortunate to have parents who told stories from their pasts, in my Maltese father’s case, stories of Malta and of the War. I highly recommend Rupert Grech’s book to the Maltese in Malta and those who settled overseas – as well as the many visitors to Malta who wish to learn more about its people, history and culture.