Great wonder

Viola Ardone
Publishing house:
Einaudi Free Style
Date of publication:

Elba is named after a northern river: her mother chose it. They used to live together, in a place she calls the half-world and which is actually an asylum. Then her mother disappeared, and she was left with nothing to do but grow up, filling out her Mental Illness Diary, and telling the newcomers to the ward about doctors Colavolpe and Lampadina, nurse Gillette, and Nana the cana. Of his universe, in short, the only one he knows. At least until a young psychiatrist, Fausto Meraviglia, gets it into his head to get her out of the asylum, or rather to eliminate them altogether, asylums; after all, that’s what the Basaglia law, passed a few years earlier, provides for. Dr. Marvel takes Elba to live in his house, like a daughter: the only one he has chosen, and through whom he, who was never a good father, learns the weight and strength of fatherhood. With her intense, original, music-filled writing, Viola Ardone tells that the love of others is never solely up to us. This is its mystery, but also its wonder.