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Readings by Rosa Lupoli

The lesson that comes
from life

 La lezione che arriva dalla vita  DCM-010
04 November 2023

Gianni Solla, Il ladro di quaderni [The Notebook Thief], Einaudi 2023

In Naples, we celebrate “the four days of Naples” with major events to commemorate the city’s uprising in September 1943 when Neapolitans managed to drive out the Nazis. Previously, I thought I knew that there had been no persecution of Jews; instead, reading Il ladro di quaderni I discovered that the year before, in 1942, thirty-six Jews had been removed and sent to confinement, to Tora and Piccilli, a small village in the Caserta area lost in the middle of nowhere. Gianni Solla’s fine novel speaks of the formative experience of Davide, a young boy with a leg malformation and mistreated by his fascist father, who came into contact with some of these Jews, particularly Nicolas and his father, and learns first of all to read (by stealing notebooks from a passing peddler) and this changes his way of thinking. The possibility of a beyond, “the deep bosom of the ocean” (W. Shakespeare, Richard III), acted out by Nicolas, is realized with his sudden escape to Naples after learning of a nighttime attack on these Jews and after an amorous encounter with Teresa, who is also longing for a different life. It follows a compelling plot and shows that we can run away from places and perhaps from ourselves but life eventually asks us to return and make up by giving us back so much beauty!