martedì 8 novembre 2016

Assenza, perdita, dolore che ne consegue

L’anno del pensiero magico (The Year of Magical Thinking)
di Joan Didion
Saggiatore, 2008 (2005)
Traduzione Vincenzo Mantovani

pp. 218
€ 9


Joan Didion è una raffinata e colta saggista americana, una scrittrice che lavora per il “New Yorker”, la “New York Rewiew of Books”, è una donna dotata dei mezzi materiali e intellettuali per affrontare l’esistenza. Per 40 anni, condivide questa esistenza con John Gregory Dunne, anch’egli scrittore. Ma non tanto per dire. La condivide fino alla simbiosi professionale, visto che non c’è articolo scritto dalla Didion che prima di giungere in redazione non sia vagliato dal coniuge. Intorno alla vigilia di natale del 2003, la loro unica figlia, Quintana, viene ricoverata in terapia intensiva per polmonite e choc settico, conseguenze di quella che pareva una banale influenza.

Seguono giorni frenetici di andirivieni fra l’ospedale e l’abitazione, taxi nervosi e sfide al gelo newyorkese. Finché la sera del 30 dicembre John decide di leggere un libro di storia sorseggiando un whiskey mentre Joan in cucina prepara la cena. John dà un giudizio sulla prima guerra mondiale, oppure commenta la qualità delle bevanda, Joan non ricorda. Sa soltanto che quella è l’ultima volta che sente la voce del marito. «Ricordo di aver pensato che mi stesse facendo uno scherzo e di aver detto “non fare così”». John muore quella stessa notte: un attacco cardiaco devastante. Joan fa in tempo a chiamare l’ambulanza perché sopra il telefono tiene un foglio con su scritti i numeri utili, tipo l’equivalente del nostro 118. Ed è qui la prima scossa per il lettore: quei numeri stanno lì perché, non si sa mai, nel condominio qualcuno potrebbe avere bisogno di un intervento medico urgente. Altri. Mai Joan avrebbe pensato di doverli usare per un familiare.
Possibile che capiti a me? Sì, è possibile che l’accanimento cinico del destino finisca per travolgerti in un attimo, che un secondo sia lo spartiacque di tutto, fra John che parla e John accasciato. “L’anno del pensiero magico”: quanto pare fuorviante adesso il titolo. La magia è quella delle favole a lieto fine, delle storielle cinematografiche sfavillanti. Questo invece è il diario ipnotico di un anno, il 2004, visto con gli occhi di una persona che stenta tremendamente a colmare la distanza, o se vogliamo impedire la sovrapposizione, fra consapevolezza razionale degli eventi e ostinazione irrazionale del desiderio. È quest’ultima a spingere la magia iniziale: «basta aspettare» e John tornerà. Non è così. Ci sarebbe in effetti magia più grande? La seconda invece è riuscire ad andare avanti e a differenza della precedente rientra nel novero delle magie possibili. Solo che costa fatica.
Joan utilizza i più svariati strumenti: l’analisi dettagliata dei fatti, la documentazione, il ricorso ai poeti, a Freud, alle parole altrui, la richiesta di autopsia per il marito. Diventa quasi un’esperta di letteratura medica, consulta le statistiche sulla morte nei primi sei mesi dalla perdita del coniuge, naviga su Google, ha perfino dei cedimenti in odore di esoterismo. Cerca di dominare, prova a stare dentro la sua storia, a starci in piedi. Nel frattempo la figlia Quintana ha una seconda terribile crisi, stavolta neurologica, e finisce in un ospedale californiano tra la vita e la morte. Emerge l’incapacità a regalare le scarpe del marito morto. Infine la resa: «non potevo regalare le scarpe perché se lui fosse tornano non avrebbe potuto camminare scalzo».
Sì, quella di Joan Didion è una vicenda privata. Diventata peraltro un bestseller internazionale, vincitore del National Book Award. Siamo spesso a disquisire della forza della letteratura che discende della capacità degli scrittori di trasformare le loro esperienze in qualcosa di valido per chiunque. In un anno in cui abbiamo dovuto sopportare l’autoreferenzialità di libri-mondo, peraltro immancabilmente premiati, leggere queste pagine di grande lucidità, necessarie per l’autrice ma capaci di coinvolgere autenticamente, ci permette di affrontare temi quali l’assenza, la perdita e il dolore che ne consegue. Perché l’ora e sempre, nei secoli dei secoli non è caratteristica che appartiene agli esseri umani. Il punto di fuga non è l’eternità ma un secondo. Accettabile o meno, è così.

Marco Caneschi

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