Not to serve, but above all to conserve. The beautiful novel by Patrizia Carrano


By John

He loves rereading the smallest stories in the folds of the biggest history of the twentieth century Patrizia Carrano, writer, journalist, screenwriter, who has dedicated much of her intellectual commitment to the female condition, declining this theme between biographies (“La Magnani. The novel of a life”), truth-stories taken from the news and customs and novels that they move between the historical setting, socio-anthropological observation and issues related to current events. As in «The servant's daughter» (Vallecchi), new chapter in a family saga that extends from 1956 to today, starting with «The little girl who ate the communists» (also Vallecchi).

The little girl Elisabetta, daughter of Franca Gobbi, passionate about the communist cause for which she neglected her daughter, the little girl who believed that the whole world was made up of “comrades”, who ate red lasagne at the CGIL canteen, met artists like Turcato and Mafai and poets like Cardarelli, the same one who senses that that exaltation deflates with the invasion of the USSR in Hungary, that little girl grew up, became a beautiful and good girl and then a kind adult always attentive to human rights .

Even those of the many foreign people who look after our elderly, more than 77% – writes Carrano in the afterword – of the domestic workforce in our country, to which we must add those who work illegally. Without their precious care, people like Franca, now ninety years old, would have been lost. Despite having worked passionately for the Party in defense of those oppressed by dictatorships and poverty, she has never been able to look with solidarity and understanding at the people close to her, including the “servants”, who helped her by also taking over her role as mother.

Beppa was a simple soul, coming from the Venetian countryside to raise little Elisabetta, loved like a daughter, and always obedient and submissive to the intolerance of her “mistress”. And now that she is alone, Franca, she has not lost that “vice” of being grumpy with those who help her, like the Peruvian Manuel, her only support after the death of Renzo, Franca's orientalist companion. after the separation from her aristocratic husband. Yet this indomitable woman, who, uninterested in material goods, is content to always have cigarettes and chocolate nearby, continues to fight in her own way, even with anger, against the pain of Elizabeth's premature death, and against her greedy stepdaughter who would like to throw her out of the house he has the use of, until he redeems himself with an act of generosity towards Manuel.

In the background Rome, always beautiful and seductive, for this story of love and pain, of parents and children, and of women who know how to resist, not “serve”, but people who know how to “keep”, that is, guard, preserve. «A vocation – writes Carrano, who was also breastfed as a child by a wet nurse – which can be understood in very high terms: one serves the country, the State, one serves ideals, one preserves a value, a history, a civilization».