Above: Sandro Veronesi, Mauro Covacich, Silvia Avallone, Francesco Piccolo. Below: Fabio Genovesi, Emanuele Trevi, Teresa Ciabatti and Maurizio de Giovanni
A day-to-day diary of these dramatic and suspended times, during the isolation dictated by the coronavirus emergency, written, however, not by a single author, but by 8 authors who have already learned how to make a team, indeed a community, right on the pages of «Reading». And that from distance they try to pass the ball. This time to tell with their different voices what they are experiencing, like all of us, for the first time: the times of the virus. To leave a trace and accompany us with their reflections.
Start on the new issue of «La Lettura», the # 435, which will be on newsstands and on the App this weekend, the relay diary of the days of the virus, which every week until 17 may see the 8 writers tell their week with all the events, the numbers, the pains, the fears, the reflections of theirs and our days.
We already know them: they are almost all the same authors that in the summer 2018 they wrote week after week the “Italian novel” in installments on the supplement, inventing a plot – in fact – romance and passing the pen in turn until creating a narrative construction full of characters, twists, shades, yellow, comedy, bourgeois drama.
This time, they tell us the whole reality: Sandro Veronesi opens, starting right on the new issue, and then continue on Sunday 5 April Mauro Covacich, who gave the cue for the initiative of this new relay, on 12 April Silvia Avallone, on 19 April Francesco Piccolo ( new entry of the team, which replaces Marco Missiroli), on 26 April Fabio Genovesi, on May 3 Emanuele Trevi, on 10 May Teresa Ciabatti, on 17 May Maurizio de Giovanni.
Only this time there won't be a fiction to build, but a burning reality to tell and understand. Because these days – as Veronesi writes from the first pages of the diary that we will read over the weekend – “now every language has suddenly become difficult to understand, even the most familiar”.
Explains the meaning of the Mauro Covacich initiative: «I had found myself well in the creation of the collective work, for the relay” Novel “, or rather I was amazed at how the novel working together, I am a loner. Why not deal with non-fiction now, try to say something about this virus whose parable is impossible to guess, to understand how to conceive the imaginary? It is certainly not a game of society, but a gesture of civil writing. In the diary, the element of personal exposure, or rather personal risk, is strong: not only do you tell something but you say what you are experiencing, here you can take advantage of your personal example, it is important to be there not with an invented story but with your body. It is a saying “I” not in the folding of a blog, but using the self as an optical prism: what is happening to me “.
As we have already seen when reading the “Italian novel”, the 8 authors are very different voices: there are those who prefer a form of narrative essayism, there is the great storyteller of contemporary odysseys, there is the writer who with the thriller plot enters the social and human fabric of a country, or the cantor of the province and the observer of the provinces of humanity, the one who focuses his eye on private tics and common, those who narrate intimacy and fathom neurosis, in short, the voices are deep and distant from each other, and represent a bit of all of us.
And in fact the characters of the “Italian novel” will not be found in the diary, the nurse Umberto Chemeri with his son Giulio or the lawyer Alberto Dell'Abate with his daughter Laura, neither the amorous plots nor the domestic intrigues and the character clashes of the characters. This time there is “only” real life, and you can immediately perceive it from the first, intense episode entrusted to Sandro Veronesi: there are the chilling and daily accounts of the infections, the dramatic calls to the children stuck on the other side of the world or closer, the tensions and anxieties of isolation, the orderly and “magrittiana” queue at the supermarket in Prato, the dryer in the cellar or the ride on the balcony that becomes a daily walk to not suffocate, the anguish to consider a whole world vanished and the hope that instead a light will shine at the end of the tunnel, perhaps the incredible ability of children to understand and endure even the cloistered days. There is the fact that everything is true, real, and difficult even to conceive. There is reflection on the Other, the forgotten, the least, those who suffer, those in the home who already experienced tensions or tragedies, now multiplied. And there is the thought for the environment, the benign Earth that suffers from pollution but also the stepmother Earth that creates deadly viruses, and the new responsibility that everyone has had to take on. Everyone, no one excluded. A multi-handed work that resonates with the in-depth work that «Reading», alongside the usual contents (from reading tips to foreign stories), continues to carry out on the Covid terrain – 19 and its impact on society.
It will not only be a diary, a memoir, a reading that will keep readers company for these weeks, it will also be an attempt to think, while living this present, what the future: «In the serialized novel – Covacich concludes – we had ventured into the imagination, creating a different world. Here we will try our hand at imagination, which is a very different thing and is used to work with the world we have; from this point of view, writing is also a form of knowledge “.
The reasons for the project in the free newsletter
A diary «of how the days in this time of isolation », the purpose of which is testimony. In the free newsletter of “La Lettura”, which arrives today in the e-mail boxes of the subscribers, Sandro Veronesi explains the reasons and the mood that led to the idea of an episode diary, of eight writers, on the emergency that we are experiencing. He will be the one to open it on the next issue of “La Lettura” (the # 435, on the left the cover of Francesco Dondina). Subscribers to the “La Lettura” App who wish to receive it but also, free of charge, users who register through this web page.