Hard to imagine the poverty that prevailed in many rural areas in Italy after the war, before the economic boom began. Courageous young people left their homes to help out in the Po Valley or beyond the Alps in agriculture and industry and to support their families at home with the money earned. The history of these “guest workers” in Germany and abroad is well researched and repeatedly (told recently by Marco Balzano, winner of the & nbsp; Premio Campiello 2015 [Read my review of Marco Balzano:” Life does not wait | However, L’ultimo arrivato “in Books Reviews”
Few are aware that many impoverished families knew in their need no other way to give away as their own sons and daughters.
Because they could not themselves longer feed, familiar they Catholic nuns on. but the children in the convents often not found the hoped-care and pious charity, but still erbärmlichere living conditions than in the families, to coldness of heart and strict discipline.
the young author Francesco Formaggi born in the province of Frosinone in 1980 has created in his novel “Il cortile di pietra” such children fate – touching, but without any Rüh rseligkeit.
At the center of the plot, which extends only over a few months, is the six-year-old Pietro, a friendly, aufgewecktes, curious guy. His flourishing, sometimes macabre imagination can it, you become a burden if it haunt the horror stories in his wanderings through narrow streets and past the half-open doorways, is told about the monsters in human form behind the walls and dark holes.
Any Dark is open for him from fear.
The story begins with some scenes from Pietro’s childlike everyday with his desperately poor family (a seriously ill mother, a strict, easy to erzürnender father, friends (playmates and Bullies older) and the neighborly environment. unexpectedly completely and inexplicably it begins one day an emotionless man ( “l’ispettore”) as a one stray dog and brings him without he got his parents once again face, on his horse and cart away. In his house, his wife takes care of tender and sensitive to the child, and this will remain the only warm-hearted care for a long time that Pietro is given. A little later bring l’ispettore the boy to a monastery ( “Collegio”), where he delivers it like a goods ordered and pocketing his wages tells.
The main part of the novel now as Pietro is fitted into the iron rules of that institution. This involves solely to submission, the refractive any individual will, adhering to rigid routines from the morning toilet of the work in house and garden and the ritual prayers until bedtime. By intimidation and physical punishment (deprivation of food, lashes, locking up) discipline the nuns the children entrusted to them. “Se le suore lo scoprivano erano guai,” is a standard formula in their conversations.
Most of the boys endured without resistance, the isolation, the humiliation, the lack in the icy winter Uniforms clothing ( “una casacca bianca di tela sfilacciata” ), the draughty dormitory, the dirt, the nasty hygienic conditions, poor nutrition, disease and death in their midst. gain by putting a few Larger benefits with their cliques the weaker under pressure. To escape hardly anyone thinks, because the few attempts have quickly recaptured boys not been acting as a cruel punishment.
One of those who have tried the outbreak (even multiple times), is Mario, a year older, but more fragile than Pietro. Despite the brutal sanctions by littenen he will neither bend nor let his escape plans. The rebellious spirit, hated by the sisters as “la peste”, recognizes related traits in newcomer Pietro and becomes his protector and friend. The younger entrusts him with his hand, making him move and what he discovered during his expeditions in the monastery grounds mystery. Together they venture out on risky nocturnal ventures in which Pietro keeps his fears with difficulty in check, and finally develop a daring escape plan.
All this is mainly from Pietro’s childish, sensitive, just gently literary tells poetically framed view. For short passages, the perspective changes, in order to reveal the inner workings of other figures, particularly diverse nuns. For the Sisterhood is not a homogeneous block. Among them are indifferent, resentful, domineering and sadistic women, but also those which under the conditions no less suffering than the children, but also how they are trapped. So Pietro is lured into insidious traps, but also learns secret attention and amazing help.
The last third of the novel introduces new people. Leo, a widowed farmer and shepherd, and his son Tommaso (some years older than Pietro) are the main counterpoles to ispettore and the nuns. Your compassionate nature, her free thinking, the decisions that need to meet them, and what they do give deeper the problem, more complex dimensions. The action takes to the shattering conclusion exciting twists ( “Stia attento agli uomini che non hanno più niente da perdere.”), And even the symbolic title phrase gets new meaning.
This self-limitation also applies to the design of the setting. It’s winter, probably shortly after the war, probably in the northern regions of Italy. More precise indications about the place and time do not exist. The landscape descriptions offer little more than topoi: the high perimeter wall, the empty hives, the olive tree with the carved horses, the lovely meadow, the shepherd’s hut, the writhing strada bianca , the burned land, a ditch the comparison with novels and films about similar conditions in Ireland is close, but the intersection on appearances and methods of rule confined in such institutions.
Formaggis interest is to understand what is going on in the people who operate such a system, or it is delivered. During his research he found that the phenomenon, it spread throughout Italy was, is poorly documented. Because it affected only the poorest of the poor? Because the children and their parents had other worries to formulate as their suffering? Because nobody had interest to shed light on the goings-on in the monasteries? Here Tommaso learned from his father that “non c’era cosa peggiore della viltà, e della paura che immobilizza, e non c’era uomo di chi peggiore chiude gli occhi davanti all nefandezze”.