Re-emerging from the ashes of Pompeii by taking hold
Valeria Parrella, La Fortuna [The Fortune], Feltrinelli 2022
We always wait impatiently for a book by Valeria Parrella to come out. Besides being our friend, her books are sharp, precise, not too long and without a word too many. This time she surprised me too. As soon as I realised what La Fortuna [The Fortune], was about, namely the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. as told by a witness present there, I was breathless with surprise for a few minutes. I could not shout it out to the others so as not to spoil their surprise. I devoured the book in one day and one night sitting. Immersing myself in that classicism, albeit peripheral to Pompeii, and recognising so many things loved during my years of study was a powerful experience. With the astonished eyes of the protagonist, I stood under that lapilli ash blanket, coming down to bury everything and everyone, and slowly I re-emerged with him, with Lucio, who survived an event that seemed impossible to recount. Visiting, looking at the ruins of Pompeii, today after this book, will be like walking among the living who, almost, did not even realise why they were dying.