The fig leaf
Antonio works with trees. He assesses their health, analyses the damages, observes their adaptive and defence strategies, and reports the results to the Ministry of Agriculture. Basically, he studies trees, so much so that, often, while observing them, stories, anecdotes, parallels and analogies build up in his mind, which he feels he'd like to write down: “Sooner or later I'll write a story about this.”
Love, free will, happiness, sorrow, neglect, solitude, shame, impermanence, but, above all, memory. An ancestral memory, that of nature, but also human and individual memory. Memory deeply tied to the theme of oblivion, in its dual connotation of bliss and damnation: “I'm still unsure about life's ultimate goal: is it to remember everything or to forget everything?”
Randomly retracing some everyday moments from his childhood, adolescence and adulthood, Antonio touches upon some of the deepest universal themes, showing readers how, in reality, human beings are merely an integral part of Nature, and, from Nature, they adopt similar adaptive and defensive strategies, in a relentless, integrated life cycle. Playfully interweaving the underlying theme of memory with botanical tips, Antonio Pascale endows ten different plants with various philosophical and existential ideas, discussed with sensitivity and a levity that echoes Calvino.
La foglia di fico. Storie di alberi, donne, uomini (The fig leaf. Stories of trees, women, men)
Antonio Pascale; illustrations by Stefano Faravelli,