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We usually refer to our minds borrowing the imagery of the sea: we explore ‘the depths’ of our brains, the conscious part of us is the one that ’emerges’, while the part of unconscious remains always ‘sunken’; and Freud himself coined the expression ‘oceanic feeling to describe that sensation of limitless and unbounded energy that from time to time overwhelms us. Il mare verticale tells a story of human fragility, barely outlined, a story about the desire to nurture one’s personal and unique individuality, while remaining exquisitely normal. India is a young teacher who suffers from panic attacks that sometimes are so intense as to paralyse her. She is advised to leave the school, but she decides to embrace her disturb, sharing her trouble with her schoolchildren and transposing it in a sort of epic tale in which the heroine, Hava, has to face an insidious monster, Kalabibi. This trick instantly brings the reader back to childhood and to that astonishing experience of just sitting and hearing a story. What apparently seems to be unspeakable here turns out to be universally accessible, and everyone will finally be able to empathize with the specific condition of India.

Freschi Brian, Urbinati Ilaria

Brian Freschi worked with many comics Italian publishers and he published Gli anni che restano (2017) and Il mare verticale (2020) with BAO.

Ilaria Urbinati is a freelance illustrator and graphic novelist. She worked with Disney, Mondadori, DeAgostini, Il Castoro, Giunti, Erickson, Little Bee Books. Since three years she illustrates the weekly column La posta del cuore on the newspaper La Stampa.