Every ‘science’ library should have a shelf for the books you mix in Truth and Fictionwhich – which Imagination fades into the story And vice versa, who knows how to use science as a narrative material, respects and also improves it with a few strokes of imagination. Among its many advantages is the display How much humanity is in things?Even in the ones we keep thinking about The exclusive domain of rationalityand how the knowledge gaps we all have, somewhere, can be filled with a little of our natural imagination.
It’s then, when you think about it, that it’s not uncommon: some stories by Gianni Rodari based on space travel, written when it was truly groundbreaking science, marked the way. Nor are they scripts for a small audience, think luxury”When we stop understanding the worldWritten by Benjamin Lapatut (Adelphi) which has been translated into many languages, and the romance of the lives of twentieth century scholars who changed our reading of reality. Finally, they are not too far from the academy, if we think of one of Telmo Pievani’s recent efforts, which is his imagination”Limited: a novel (defined like this in the subtitle, with the word ‘philosophical’ added) which tells of a possible, but never, dialogue between the writer Albert Camus And the biologist Jack Monod.
Among these books should be placed “Nothing else to report“By Francesca Valente, published by Einaudi in the Unici series, winner of the Italo Calvino Prize 2021. Here too we start from fragments of reality and build potential stories, and only here we play not with the ideas of great intellectuals but with the gestures and actions of men and women Psychiatric patients. Here are people referred to by the nickname, identified as “Paz” but only as an abbreviation for “patient”, struggling for a freedom they probably don’t know how to manage, and reports told them that psychiatric diagnostic operators are leaving the treatment service at the Hospital Mauriziano Turin at the end of the shift To colleagues who will follow them.
In these reports, original, Compiled by a psychiatrist At work in those years and personally handed over to the writer, there is a “Baz”. who offered himself a glass of champagne “full of urine instead of champagne” and just below the pointer: “there are no lights in the toilet.” The one who “takes out for himself”, and the other who “has hysteria, still does not have a very healthy behaviour”. The “master” who looks at the amber, asks who is doing the night, receives an answer “greetings and gone” (sic), and the nurse who remarked: “election certificates are in the drug locker.” And finally, almost always, “there’s nothing else to report”.
We’re in the early 80’s, and the Baz are right there Law 180 Freedom from Mental Hospitals. On the other hand, a psychiatrist is called Luciano Sorrentino: His story begins in Turin in a family that emigrated from the South and took him to the United States. There he sees him approaching, boy, subjects Not institutionalizing the patient And criticism of the prevailing psychological model. Then back to Italy (also to avoid leaving as a soldier in Vietnam), Pasaglia and the Mauritius Hospital where one of Italy’s first “open wards” was located. Finally, Patient Carlo, his adventure as an actor, and a portrait that immortalizes them, doctor and patient, are more alike in spirit than we are prepared to think. So are the stories of others, at the end are little pictures of a recent past, and are like many of the stories we’ve always heard: the “Baz” stories. Which we are used to calling “Mr.” This is part of our humanity.
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