Open letter to somebody who never visited Livraria Lello
It was the readers of Livraria Lello that turned this bookstore into an open letter. As Umberto Eco explained in his lessons at Harvard, literature implies a fictional pact that reflects in the acceptance on behalf of the reader of a truth that extends beyond the actual reality of writing.
Through the history of this bookstore, there have passed writers of every age, genre, language and nationality. And as we recall the author of The Name of the Rose (who also passed through here), all the narratives begin with «Once upon a time...». Once upon a time, there was a city with a magic bookstore… «c´era una volta una libreria accanto a una torre de Nasoni» in Italian or in English, «once upon a time, there was a young future writer who lived in a city where she missed there being a bookstore where millions of future readers would buy her books»…
On visiting Livraria Lello, tens of thousands of J. K. Rowling readers have also discovered the universe of Harry Potter and nobody may detract from that magical amazement.
Having declared that when she lived in Porto, she did not know about the existence of Livraria Lello, J. K. Rowling provides details for her autobiography, recognising that the bookstore is very pretty and furthermore accepting that she would have liked to have visited («I wish I had»).
For this reason, Livraria Lello would thank J.K. Rowling for her kindness and invite her to comply with this reciprocal desire in the same spirit that the city of Liverpool welcomed back The Beatles after they had gone famous in London.
William Shakespeare never left England but located Romeo and Juliet in Verona, wrote The Merchant of Venice and instilled life into a Prince of Denmark by the name of Hamlet. His works produced characters so strong that they led Nietzsche to conclude that Emperor Julius Caesar would never have existed had Shakespeare not invented him centuries after his assassination in the Roman Senate.
While Tchaikovsky never got the chance to visit Porto, we know that J.K. Rowling listened to his music a great deal when living in our city. Therefore, it would not be excessive to conclude that Tchaikovsky, who we henceforth begin hearing in Livraria Lello at 5pm each evening, shall continue to inspire whoever dreams of Hogwarts on the famous bookstore staircase. In such a way, we sequentially follow the fictional pact proposed by Eco. Respecting always the message left by the great semioticist in Harvard: «Not even I, as the author of my works, may enter into the forest of fiction as if I were entering my own private garden».
Thank you, J.K. Rowling.