Saturday 30 May 2020, we went to Bellano of Andrea Vitali to interview him on his latest book “A man in his underwear: The cases of Marshal Ernesto Maccadò” Edited by Garzanti.
“Here in Bellano we have not been affected as happened in large urban centers, now thanks to strict compliance with the rules we hope that the worst has passed. Of course, in the first weeks of the epidemic there was a lot of uncertainty. Now it is like living again, last weekend, also thanks to a splendid climate, Bellano was very crowded“.
Even the “small world” where Andrea Vitali set his stories, Bellano precisely, was affected by the coronavirus, she cried her dead. The medical writer returned to service during the emergency making his professionalism available to serve the community that he made famous with his novels. Now he promotes his new novel published by Garzanti, “A man in his underwear“, new piece of the narrative mosaic featuring Marshal Ernesto Maccadò as the protagonist.
“I make presentations on Instagram, from one city to another – dice – I've done many in the past by traveling a lot, maybe the time had come to stop, social distance forces us to use technology. Which I find a little’ cold. It certainly serves to keep the bonds alive in the people of the book, between audience, authors and shopkeepers. However, the liveliness of the true encounter is missing, the curiosity of those who ask the question inopportune, those things that give the flavor of real life and that we miss“.
Vitali who is president of the jury of the prize “City of Como” he read a lot, as happened to many, during the quarantine forced by the health emergency. “But even reading if it is not shared is ultimately an end in itself” dice. And he adds: “In two months I have read many books, but if reading is a filler it is no longer a pleasure. Of course he has many arrows on his bow, but everything in life has a border, a limit, and the book has it too. Life is a balance between many dimensions, and I hope to return to Italy to present my books in person“. The virus took away a generation of older people who were the custodians of so much precious memory, and this is felt perhaps more in a small community where everyone knows each other, and sooner or later they can be reflected in a Vitali novel. Even if you are in Palermo, because passions vices and virtues are those of “small world” of the profound province that weaves and binds the whole of Italy.
“I trust a lot of the memory that settles on the newspaper pages, but oral testimony is far more valuable” says Vitali “Now I fear that this overwhelming period we have experienced results in a pandemic paper invasion, of stories that reproduce the theme of the epidemic, virus, of contagion. A theme that has already been exploited by cinema perhaps more than by literature, and that it seems difficult to me to relive effectively in a valuable literary text. There are already too many books around that deal with the theme of death on a narrative level“.
This also applies to the texts that will compete for the prize “City of Como” whose announcement is about to expire in a few weeks: if you want to write about a pandemic, you have to be very good to convince the jury led by Andrea Vitali.
Tell us about the new Maccadò. “With its barracks – says Vitali – it is one of those cardinal points, of indispensable topoi in the architecture of a small village like my Bellano. The barracks, City Hall, the church and the pharmacy are all fundamental places for the identity of the place, they impose themselves on the scene with their symbolic characters and Maccadò is no exception since he is an external character, that comes from outside, and it allows me precisely with this detachment from the social community that I tell you to understand it better, to advance step by step, novel after novel, in the knowledge of this or that situation. This time, in the new novel, it has to do with issues that are not properly part of the professional horizon of the carabinieri weapon, but they still symbolize those situations that especially in a comedy scenario like the ones I write can be intriguing skeletons in the closet, and telling them is a great pleasure for me“.