The Secret is to Tell All!

Preface to the French Edition

In 1983, the Veronese printer Marino Mardersteig delivered the first copies of Il segreto è dirlo (“The Secret is to Tell”),[1] and La Repubblica, one of the biggest daily newspapers in Italy, dedicated a long article to the adventures of a strange client of my services, the worker Stabile Fioravante. The inquest was signed by Giorgio Bocca, the best-paid journalist among those who were ready to write about any subject, possibly to order. Stabile Fioravante had not killed his wife with a hammer nor been the most recent fiancé of Caroline of Monaco, but no less merited the honors of the press by winning, in less than twenty months, seventeen court cases against seventeen different companies from which he had managed to be fired.

The judges had awarded him damages of a total of 700,000 new francs. Not content with his success, Fioravante had insolently threatened to continue along this road, inciting others to do the same.

This had taken place in Italy at the moment that proletarian revolt, which had begun softly in 1966 and 1967, seemed to be endless. For more than sixteen years, this revolt had been reborn, each time under new forms, skillfully beating the repression and never giving in to the temptation to accept under-handed offers of peace. Young people had flown to recruiters to seek any job on offer, eager to create havoc and receive nice sums of money in exchange for their departure.

It would be ridiculous to ponder at great length whether this legal banditry must be considered as subversive. Such banditry was unquestionably scandalous and the unions were quite obligated to tolerate it by hypocritically hiding its existence in the hope of seeing it cease on its own. The brazen exploitation of the law fed radical behavior and constituted a veritable farce at the expense of those who were obligated to respect the law, since they were the ones who created and imposed it. It was in this climate that the joyous and provocative adventures of Salvatore Messana were conceived; and it would be impossible to understand them without granting them the reality, if not the realism, in which they swim. My book appeared anonymously so as to avoid confusion with the bands of little opportunists who published ambiguous and insidious chronicles of the Italian struggles in the obvious hope of obtaining some crummy job.

Today, when everything appears suddenly and inexplicably calm, I can finally sign my name to it.

Gianni Giovannelli
[Attorney at law]

[1] Translator’s note: translated into French as Le Secret C’est de Tout Dire! by Monique Baccelli (Editions Allia, 1989).

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