June 1994. Twenty-year-old Daniele wakes up in a hospital room, confused and surrounded by strangers. Slowly, memories of the previous night return to him: a spiral of anxiety and anger, an explosion of violence so intense that it almost inflicted irreparable damage to him and his family… To his horror, Daniele learns from the doctors that he’s been sentenced to a week of mandatory treatment in a psychiatric ward.
Writing with lucid realism and stunning emotional force, and drawing from the author’s own personal experience of mental illness, Mencarelli chronicles Daniele’s seven days in the hospital as he struggles to find a way out of the darkness. Daniele finds unexpected companions in his fellow patients–men who, like him, have felt the full brunt of life’s pain. Together they will realize the hidden strength and value of their common fragility and of the boundless empathy they feel towards others.
By focusing on some of the most marginalized people in our society, Mencarelli has written a heartbreaking and unforgettable novel that challenges our notion of normality and celebrates the salvific power of solidarity and vulnerability.