The Oath

“Heads can be cut or counted”

In 1931 the Italian fascist regime chose both solutions and forced all university professors to swear an oath of allegiance to the Duce.

1,238 took the oath. Only twelve refused. This is the story of one of those twelve, freely inspired by the figure of Mario Carrara (1866 – 1937), one of the fathers of Italian legal medicine and a leading expert in forensic medicine.

While the university celebrated the concept of race, careers were made with the party card, students wore black shirts even in the lecture halls. Carrara sensed the ignominious agony of the country and when the rector announced the date and the terms of the oath, that is, loyalty to the king and to Mussolini, he realised he could not do it. Not for any ideological obstinacy on his part but due to a sense of decency. Because that oath was above all ridicu- lous, grotesque, a fake, in a word – indecent. The story of Mario Carrara, who was arrested and died in prison, is a metaphor for our modern times, pervaded as they are by new conformisms and old acquiescences.”

A short novel, which does not scream dissent from the rooftops, but makes it flow between the pages (...) those in need of calm reflectation will find something to think about in Fava's book

Critica Letteraria, Italy

Fava's style creates a slow awareness, but the dramatic events triggers a reaction (... The highly lucid and still current analysis of a collective madness concealed by the blood of resilience that we have the duty to remember and defend. Always ready to say the NO that keeps us free.

La Repubblica, Italy

Pleasant and interesting book

La Passionata, Italy

Fava is good at catching the main scenes, there are no smears, we see the professor - who has no name, almost to incarnate the other twelve, and then others still able to say no to the conformism of violence, to the acceptance of a fidelity imposed at the expense of differences and ideas - in private and at university, while maturing his choice, while holding classes and deciding to be himself in a country of puppets. And his choice is even stronger because it is of fidelity to doubt, which science brings with it, and not of loyalty to an ideology. Fava manages to make Carrara's natural freedom and those like him feel.

Il Mattino, Italy

Mario Carrara's story is an inevitable metaphor for our time, pervaded by new conformisms and ancient resignations.

Tempo Ritrovato, Italy