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The submissive body

· The novel ·

Milena was born in prison and remained there until she was three when, as required by law, she was released, and went to live with her father. Her mother on the other hand remained in jail to serve the rest of her sentence. Milena’s entire life is marked by that experience and by that detachment. They told her that there were bad people in jail and she at nursery school would try to become one in order to return to her mother. As an adult, every Saturday, through an association, she will return to Rebibbia  to take the children who live there with their mothers to bring them out to see the world. The book by Rosella Postorino The submissive body (Einaudi, 2013) tells of the segregation that makes the bodies of those who suffer helpless and obedient. " They decide when and how much we should eat, when and how much we should sleep, when and how much we should talk . It's called civilization. A punishment without pain”. An even larger and more terrible punishment because, again they decide when and how much a child must remain in that pain and that punishment and when he or she has to leave ( mandatorily three years) separating themselves from the mother with whom they have lived in symbiosis. The submissive body is not an essay in sociology or a pamphlet on prison conditions: it is a good novel, intense, full of pain and sorrow, in which the life of a woman who was a child in prison and who cannot free herself from that prison, unfolds. Milena continues to feel a sense of guilt and pain, the road to recovery is still long. There are about sixty children who live today in Italian prisons with their mothers. The number, which seems low, cannot conceal the magnitude and the depth of the pain and injustice. Postorino has the great merit of telling us about it in all its truth. (@ ritannaarmeni)




St. Peter’s Square

Dec. 8, 2019