This influx of public can be explained: we were going to attend the presentation of Saviano’s new book, Solo é il coraggio (Bompiani editore). The journalist tells the story of judge Giovanni Falcone and his assassination by the mafia thirty years ago, on May 23, 1992.
The drive is “immortal”
Saviano’s speech, alone on stage for the duration of the meeting, opens with a tribute to the strength of the Turin Book Fair and its ability to put the book, the page, the words, at the center. ” The book retains its magic as an active act, not a passive one“said Saviano. The public is thrilled.
According to the author, ” the reader is the director and the book is the script: when you read you are alone, but not in solitude. You are with you, while being inside something that is more than youhe says. No one will be able to live as many existences as the reader, who thus appears thus “immortal“.
“When I find myself writing a book, I need to imagine the eyes that will read it“, continues Saviano, specifying how strong this attention to the reader is. Even, and above all, during his process of writing a book that talks about political, judicial and, arguably, human affairs.
Its objective is indeed tomake us feel alongside Falcone“. Research matters – delivering factual information – but it is also important to “to feel” the story. Like Primo Levi’s book,If it’s a manpublished in Italy in 1947, one of the greatest examples of testimonial literature (trans. Martine Schruoffeneger).
The writer’s desire is that the reader “to rememberof this story in the sense ofcarry it in his heart“. A nod to the etypology of the verb in Italian “ricordare“, that is to say, to remember, and “cookthe heart – linked to the old idea that the faculty of memory resided in the heart and not in the brain.
Fight the Mafia, transform the country
This book tells, among other things, the story of the biggest trial against the Mafia that has ever taken place, the Maxi Trial of Palermo, opened in 1986. Italian criminal organizations and their leaders. The protagonist is undoubtedly the judge, engaged in the fight against the Mafia, Giovanni Falcone, but Saviano seeks to draw attention to each character: “I wanted each life to enter into an almost musical harmony, to pass through the paths of the heart.»
Falcone is told in all his humanity, not just as a hero, even if, together with others like him, he tried to do something truly extraordinary, that is to say “transform the country», to fight, for example, against the impossibility of having a coast free from all looting, or of having a job.
He and his ilk understood that they could “rid the country of the cancer of Mafia logic, culture and criminal enterprise, and do it with the instrument of the law“. They had thusfound the tools to make visible what was not visible through the law“.
The choice of courage
Saviano wonders at one point why these men, so courageous, but at the same time so human, did not give up: “Their friends died to continue this battle: there is no turning back“he believes. And adds:They chose the path of courage because courage is a choice. Because if I don’t act like that, the meaning of my life is lost, and life is made up of choices.»
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be afraid:Fear is a healthy thing, it signals you to be careful, and it is as healthy as pain, because if you don’t feel pain, you don’t recognize the hurt.“. In summary, “pain and fear are our allies, cowardice is not“.
Towards the end of his intervention, after having read extracts from his work, Saviano once again addresses the reader directly, in a magical apostrophe. May these stories penetrate the minds, germinate there and spring forth like the blood of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples. According to the account of his martyrdom, each year he melts the blood, representing life being renewed.
“Live, let the blood flow in you: literature has this magic, when the story becomes yours, you let life flow in the streets of your hearthe told those present in the Sala Oro in Turin. And to assure:Nevertheless, the truth exists.»
photo credits: Roberto Saviano, ActuaLitté CC BY SA 2.0
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Saviano, Judge Falcone and the Mafia: “Courage is a choice”
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