Gordiano Lupi “Il ragazzo del Cobre”

Patrizia Poli
3 min readSep 22, 2022

They have always taught her that you shouldn’t plan for the future, because it’s the days that choose the sequence of events. Living life moment by moment is the best medicine to defeat melancholy ”.

The Demian series from Il Foglio letterario, directed by Sacha Naspini and Federico Guerri, has very particular characteristics. The motto is “The attempt of a lifetime, the hint of a path” (H. Hesse), the series hosts 2 stories per book and is organized in seasons — each issue an episode, with an anthology every ten episodes. The topic explored is adolescence.

Episode 7 collects a good story by Gordiano Lupi, “The boy of the Cobre”, and a special dedicated to some texts by Virgilio Piñera (1912–1979), a Cuban writer “forgotten” by the Castro regime because he is homosexual, in a country that considers homosexuality a bourgeois, individualistic and decadent vice.

The protagonist of “The Boy of the Cobre” is a family that lives in the alagados, the neighborhoods built on stilts at the mouth of the river, in Salvador de Bahia. The inhabitants of Cobre are so poor that, on the social scale, they are even below those of the favelas. Father, mother, a grandfather, two teenage daughters, a little boy playing football, another little girl on the way, the struggle to bring home bread every day by lawful and illicit means, resignation to exploitation and sex tourism, the hope that never dies.

There will be a redemption, in the end, but it will only be at the price of a life, that of the young Anabel, killed while she sells her immature body “in the light of the moon”. It is the spirits of the Candoblè themselves, we guess, who demand this sacrifice. Anabel dies and is reborn in the little girl who will bear her name and her eyes, so that the second child, Maria, does not meet her end, but finds a good Italian boy willing to take her off the street and offer her a new existence in Piombino, so that Juanito, by dint of kicking the ball, is noticed by the sports prosecutors and becomes part of an iportant team, moving away — but not with the heart — from the alagados, realizing his dream and getting the opportunity to help the whole family.

The children will be happy. Only of this he is sure.

Nobody will have to live their life anymore.

Nobody will have to fight anymore not to die.“

Lupi’s is not a social denunciation but a declaration of love: for tropical nights…

Patrizia Poli

Patrizia Poli was born in Livorno in 1961. Writer of fiction and blogger, she published seven novels.