Three O’clock in the Morning is a novel by Gainrico Carofiglio. A story of a teenager who makes a trip to France with his estranged mathematician father to be cured of his epilepsy and ends up learning about his father in an intimate way during two days without sleep.
“Who were epileptics?” I asked, realizing that this
was the first time I’d managed to say the word.
‘Just to give a few examples: Aristotle, Pascal,
Edgar Allan Poe, Dostoevsky, Handel, Julius Caesar,
Flaubert, Maupassant, Berlioz, Newton, Moliére,
Tolstoy, Leonardo da Vinci, Beethoven, Michelangelo,
Socrates, Van Gogh.”
I processed this information.
It’s strange how the same thing, exactly the same
thing, can make us feel so different depending on
how we see it, the mental context in which we put it.
Ever since I’d been diagnosed with it, epilepsy had
been, as far as I was concerned, a stigma, a sign of
inferiority, a disgraceful blemish that had to be
hidden. After Gastaut’s words, after hearing that list
of geniuses who had all apparently had a problem
similar to mine, my inner world now turned a
hundred and eighty degrees, as if moving from
darkness to light. I had felt like a reject, and, all at
once, for the very same material reason, I felt almost
one of the chosen, a member of a special category of
“Please sign your drawing,” Gastaut said, in an
almost formal tone. I signed it, and it seemed natural
to me, as if I were signing a contract with my new life,
which was starting at that moment.
He stood up, shook hands with us, repeated that— from the novel.
he would see us again in three years and walked us to
I found myself reading it at three o’clock Monday morning. At 2:30 am Cheryl was awake and longer able to sleep.
She ate a doughnut and some cereal. She drank some orange juice. I read my book for a bit. How appropriate, I thought. We did the Wordle. It was four in the morning. We went back to bed at four.
I was awakened by the EXTREMELY LOUD AND ANNOYING alarm clock at seven. I fetched her pills. She took them and we returned to bed.
At 7:30 am she arose to get dressed for school. I got up and finished the story. Not a crime novel which is my usual genre. I did not remember that I had finished the Wordle.