Solitary

Da mauriziotorchio.

Torchio Solitary


Those who are free don't realize it, but they live on a thin layer of perforated, crumbly soil. They too can be swallowed up at any moment into the world down here.


In the 'Hole', the pit of solitary confinement, the world shrinks—the horizon narrows, while what's outside appears less and less real.We learn more every year about the damaging effects of this unquestionably cruel and unusual punishment leaves prisoners with no human contact, sometimes for years at a time, and nearly always leads to lasting trauma.

In Solitary, Maurizio Torchio takes on the daunting task of narrating this most isolating experience, one in which the captive is not only cut off from society in the walls of a prison, but from human contact itself. Within this closed world seemingly out of time, the prisoner still yearns for human contact. Ultimately, this desire is a form of hope, reminding us that ineluctable human qualities survive even in the most inhumane spaces.


May 2019 (Forthcoming)
Seagull Book
Translated by Anne Milano Appel
5 x 8 inches, 240pp.
ISBN : 9780857426079

First Chapter

They bark: Ears. You bend your ears forward and turn around, first right, then left.

Nostrils. You tilt your head back to make the inspection easier.

Mouth. You open your mouth. The body’s doorways open on command. You open your mouth but they don’t feed you. They don’t put something in: they check to see that you don’t have anything.

Lift your tongue. You obey.

Stick out your tongue. You obey.

Gums. You move your lips aside, using your hands. Your fingers doing the guards’ bidding.

Your mouth is empty, nothing irregular. Going back it’s easy for it to be empty, because you have to talk a lot when you go on leave. You have to go to a woman who is familiar with prison: because she was locked up herself, or because she was brought to visit a father or a brother there as a child. Maybe her husband is still there. There are girls who are in a hurry and don’t understand. They think that if you haven’t seen a woman in twenty years, you’ll want to get your fill when you’re outside. Instead, a woman who knows prison will take you home, feed you drop by drop. You’ll go there in the afternoon, hoping it will soon be dark. She’ll offer you coffee. And you’ll talk. And talk. You have to empty your mouth. Let some of the prison out. If you don’t talk, there’s no room for anything else.

Biography and Contact