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The nocturnal traveller

· The novel ·

At a time in history when the endemic conflicts between nations, religious and races are once again being embodied in constant violence perpetrated on women’s bodies as a form of punishment, humiliation and submission, 10 years after it came out we remember the mysterious female figure in Maurizio Maggiani’s novel, Il viaggiatore notturno (Feltrinelli, 2005). She is “Perfetta”, the girl who sets out for the West on foot from the Caucasus holding a plastic shopping bag. After crossing half of Europe, she arrives at the gates of Tuzla where – in a dramatic situation – she meets the protagonist, an expert on animal migration. “Perfetta”, a nomadic woman raped and tortured as a foreign female but who has the inner strength to resist what men impose on her, walks on the brink. Repeating a mysterious sentence – which the protagonist interprets as a “Noli me tangere”, similar to what Charles de Foucauld wrote referring to death, seeing it on the horizon – the woman pronounces her “no”; in appearance useless, in substance so substantial. (@GiuliGaleotti)

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