“On Courage”: an excerpt from Roberto Saviano’s book about Giovanni Falcone

Every year in mid-May, huge schools of tuna choose the warm waters of the Sicily to complete their “voyage of love” and lay their eggs: tuna fishermen have known this for centuries and are preparing for the great slaughter that will turn the sea and their hands red. It’s just to visit the show of the Slaughter of Favignana which in May 1992from Rome they return to Sicily Francesca Morvillo and Giovanni Falcone.

Fifty years ago, in the country Lion Heart, a father and his children are gathered in the kitchen to defuse an Allied bomb from which they will extract explosives to resell at a high price; but something goes wrong and the whole family is wiped out by the explosion. Only a little boy is saved: Toto Riina.

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Thirty years later Capaci Massacrein his new book Only the courage (Bompiani), Robert Saviano honor the memory Falcon tries to tear it away from the solidity of the icon and follow the steps to reconstruct them one by one. Based on numerous sources, the course of the trial, the testimonies of those who knew him, the author of Gomorrah and ZeroZeroZero brings back to the heart of those fateful years, helping readers to understand the complexity of interests at stake, the depths of cowardice and the immensity of courage, the human quality of the protagonists of a story that affects us much more than we think .

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closeup, Giovanni Falcone’s is the story of a man at the height of his career, actually at the height of his isolation. Gathering the legacy of the many colleagues of the Pool of Palermofallen before him one by one and masterfully recalled in these pages, Falcone devotes all his energy to descending into the belly of the Cosa Nostra: an immeasurable abyss whose traffic emanates from Palermo and haunts the whole world.

Falcone investigates all along the line, at best evading the traps of a state apparatus in a bureaucratic and skeptical manner. He confronts the coldness of civil society, the accusations of the protagonist. He lives an everyday life marked by threats, by the need for an escort, by the fear of speaking about the future with the woman he loves. Nevertheless, Falcone’s is the story of a man who loves his country, its dazzling lights, its aromas, its brave females. And there is only one way to express this great love: to work. Because his job is to defend this beauty, to save it from the shadow that surrounds it, from the rot that eats away at its foundations.

Courage is Roberto Saviano Bompiani

High ilLibraio.itWith the kind permission of the publisher, we offer an excerpt:


Palermo, 1987

It’s for fear of getting your eyes wet

to a widow that you stand alone?

Francesca stands with her back against the head of the bed, thinking about the lines of a Shakespearean sonnet. If she had presented herself twenty years later, at university – and she did so often, very often – she would never have been able to compose a picture like the one she is in now.

The moonlight, filtering through the glass of the window, illuminates part of her face while the other is obscured by the semi-darkness of the bedroom. Giovanni is lying next to her, his back to her, but he can still see her face: he knows the thoughts going through his head, he knows them all. He knows they still do it now, squirming around his synapses like worms. He knows that shadow depends on them, that sinister darkness that lies at the bottom of his eyes and that does not leave him even when he is in a state of grace, not even on their wedding day; this sad regret of a catastrophe that has already happened and will not come, which they and some others can see. It depends on them, on those dark thoughts that squirm like worms in his head. She wants to take them with her. He would like to dig a hole between his eyes and take them all, these worms, drive them away from him forever. He knows that love, even if everything is possible, even if it’s all a person can give, will not be enough for him. That the infestation will never end, the parasites will never be eradicated unless he does it himself.

Dying childless doesn’t affect you

Crying like from a woman without a man.

The grieving world will want to complain

that you didn’t leave your mark

while every widow can find again

the husband in the eyes of her son.

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That’s what he sees, a small terror hidden behind his skull shield, constantly working even when he’s asleep. But he doesn’t sleep. His eyes are closed but he is awake. He thinks about what Rocco told him when he got married. You’ve already seen the black on the horizon and you’ve already passed it. It’s you, still stranded. Love her even more, because even though she already knows everything, even if she knows better, and even before you do, she tightens the rope that binds you together.

But it’s not easy not to feel guilty, not at all. Why do you feel like you’re losing something, even though you know you’ve won a rare victory, that you’ve restarted a social mechanism that has been rusty and stationary for decades? How do you get worms out of your head? How do you close a trapdoor forever? How do you banish the shadows? Maybe you are the answer. Maybe there is an order in things, a strange order. Some form of compensation. And perhaps it is in itself an act of mercy. But what is he to her? What was it and, most importantly, what will it be to her?

Francesca looks out the window. Now his face is illuminated by the pale light of the moon high in the sky. This is how this theater is made up: of light and shadow. We have the eyes to see them but not the wires to maneuver them. At best, we can pick the sunniest streets. Or the darker ones.

Everything I’ve wasted in my life

change places and there are those who will enjoy;

then the wasted beauty is gone,

and unused it is destroyed.

There is no love for others in your heart

if you commit such a dishonor.

The dawn will be beautiful tomorrow morning. The sun will come and drive out the shadows with stubborn and savage arrogance.
Men have no part in it. They don’t count.
Not even her.
Neither does Giovanni.

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