Let the night come


“They found his heart intact because his will was pure.

We find ourselves in front of the book with which we decided to open the third edition of the “June of books – 2024” exhibition in Milan, and which we had the opportunity to read and analyze with the writer himself in great detail.

The young author Ceccherini, after having spoken about the monster of Florence in his first book, in this second work recounts the private life and events of Donato Bilancia, perhaps the last Italian serial killer, who between 1997 and 1998 he kept under he defeated the police and terrorized Liguria. A name known to those who lived through that historical period, whose memories have faded in the pages of newspapers, but which certainly arouse less than positive feelings.

Let’s start with the title: which night is the author referring to? That of reason? The one of eternal sleep? The one that brings nightmares and unconquered fears as a gift? Or is it a simple reference to a common saying, to imply that what must come will come?

The answer we decide to give to this first question represents the key to understanding that we will decide to give to the story of Donato Bilancia, and to the answers that can never be had regarding why he decided to commit seventeen murders, then focusing in particular on the women.

Having appreciated the contrast between the beginning and the end of the book, leaving aside the prologue, the book begins with a religious function in which the child Donato is forced to participate with his family, and then reaches the end where Donato is an atheist , and God’s presence is questioned because he did not stop his murderous hand before he could carry out the long sequence of murders.

Despite having embraced the form of the narrative story, therefore very truthful but not true in some parts (also because it could not be otherwise), the decision to create subchapters named after specific days of the week (similar to a diary or journalistic investigation), represents an anchor to reality, as if to keep the reader grounded, and which, even if it is a novel, talks about events that actually happened.

The writing is lean and dry. The text is pleasant to read, and even the parts where perhaps excessive colloquial forms are used are not annoying, because they are functional to the story and the character of the protagonists. The same goes for the division of the book into three parts called Order, Chaos and Stasi, which reflect the evolution of Donato Bilancia’s life.

Despite feelings of anguish, disbelief, bewilderment and tension, the book is suitable for all readers, without particular categorizations.


Alessandro Ceccherini, Let the night come, Nottetempo, Milano, 2024

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