in a time when we are getting married less and more and more separated, it is almost obvious to wonder if the crisis of marriage — the institutional form of the oath of eternal love — is really irreversible. Is it a question of social selfishness, of weak bonds, of widespread narcissism? Every now and then some scientific essay thinks about it, and every now and then literature thinks about it. Angelo Mellone, with Nelle migliori famiglie (Mondadori), chose the second path, following a path that from political reportages led him to the theater and then to the novels. In truth Mellone, before writing a couple of fantasy books and especially two novels dedicated to a generational story of young postfascists from which a tv series is being derived, he had dedicated to the theme of separation a few years ago also Dear You. Letter to an ex-wife (Add), but with this book the story goes from the epistolary form, intimate and denouncing, to that of the story that has an almost cinematic plot.
Angelo Mellone (Taranto, 1973) is a journalist and deputy director of rai uno
it All starts with a tragedy: the loss of a child, struck by a car pirate in the course of France in Rome, the eldest of the four children of Piero Cometti and Elizabeth, the two men more different could not be. Piero is a famous Roman plastic surgeon, the son of a university baron linked to the Pci, convinced in an extravagant but intriguing way that aesthetics is the new ground to realize communism; Elisabetta, in turn the daughter of an important magistrate, is instead a television host of Apulian origin declared "right". They are children of rich and powerful dynasties, their family is envied by the Rome that counts. They met as boys, theirs was a very strong love, their home game of right and left-Piero creative and indulgent with his children, Elisabetta more severe and methodical — produced fantasy and fun rather than conflict, until the disappearance of Flavio suddenly sends everything to pieces. Their castle of certainties collapses, just the breath of a tragedy to bring everything down and leave two fifty-year-olds naked in front of the unleashing of what Mellone defines "vanity" but which we could also define dictatorial desires, whims, youth anxieties, immoderate ambitions.
The front cover of the novel "In the best families" by Angelo Mellone (Mondadori, pp. 287, € 18)
Are situations that are well known to anyone of us and that the author has moved in a privileged environment, in a crash, the family where you are a third party inconvenience or economic problems to disturb a crisis, first of all, the sentimental, the breakdown of a relationship so self-confident, and perhaps presumptuous, not to perceive their weaknesses and defeat.
Here Mellone seems to question his generation, the forty-fifty years old, without children, or perhaps with children shared in the extended family, very close to sacrifice in the name of the family and of the children the "right" to freedom and independence. Perhaps he himself asks the same questions, loading them on the two protagonists. Piero and Elizabeth do not make scenes in court, do not throw the rags on him, does not fit the children against the other but, as in black magic, they begin to disprezzarsi, silently, turning love into resentment, and so on, until a precise request of her three children, forces them to go along with a week of vacation in Cortina d'ampezzo, in the home of her parents. < / p>
this is where the real story begins, when we enter the emergency room of a hospital on Christmas Eve. Piero chases after a stretcher on which Denis, the youngest son, is lying. On an off-piste with his father he had a ruinous fall, he is in critical condition. Just for that evening Elisabetta has organized a dinner in which you can decide her descent into politics: a worldly event for her very important is stuck with a drama in progress. So Piero and Elisabetta are forced to live together until the dawn of Christmas Day in the waiting room of the hospital and, for the first time in years, find themselves sharing a problem.
This pushes them to finally reckon with the perception of the other, who they are and who they face, in a plot that gradually fills, and the rage of the pimps, and fake friends, children, demanding, brothers anaffettivi, mothers in war, wise elders, doctors, embarrassed, characters appear and disappear — except Andrea, the psychologist session after session helps us to know Piero — leaving everyone something that directs the course of history in a fresco that claims to save the family from the rhetoric of its dissolution, so fashionable in the cinema and in literature.
If not for a tragic particular that is revealed only at the last page, it would be almost define a kind of fairy tale christmas — not a case, set in a Curtain empty, the moon full of stars — which alternates between the pages of great bitterness to other very sweet, in the way in which two people who have loved a lot, and then dramatically denigrated, and rediscover that under the ash of hatred cova is still something good at the very least the desire to go back to respecting one another. Problems that, as the title of the book explains and as the former father-in-law reminds Piero, happen everywhere, even "in the best families", and that Mellone has endeavored to present us in the dialogues, in the ramblings, in the anguish of a generation tormented by guilt.