It takes guts to be Edna, Jacob, I bambini di Svevia, any of the faces forgotten in the memory of a story that Italy does not know. Of which little, too little is spoken. And you write even less. The novel I bambini di Svevia by Romina Casagrande, published by Garzanti, has the immense value of taking us straight to that page of history. From the 1700s to the first half of the 1900s, in March South Tyrolean children left their families to go on a long journey. Through 200 kilometers of unknown and false hopes, children between 5 and 14 years old reached Germany. Once in the Bavarian countryside they were sold to peasant families. And there it was a stroke of luck to happen with people who treated you with dignity, but in any case for the children there were unthinkable work rhythms and nights of nostalgia.
Edna is a 90 year old woman, society does not seem to expect anything from her. Yet Edna, who lives with her parrot, keeps within herself a promise made to her child friend from Swabia, whom she met on the farms as a child. So on an incredible journey through mountains and memories, on a path of memory, of pacification with herself, Edna, accompanied by her parrot, decides to return to those lands where she had run away as a child, to look for Jacob.
It is a difficult journey, populated by encounters and characters, daring situations, desperate others, and memories that come back to mind. Debora Casagrande’s novel, albeit with some weaknesses, has the impact of a story that has its roots in truth. And for this you don’t forget.