i-ItalyNY - 2014-06 - page 52

Ideas
Bookshelf
First published in Italian in 2010,
well before the world-wide success
of
La Grande Bellezza
, this debut novel
from one of Italy’s most famous movie
directors is a brilliant cockeyed state-
of-the-nation address that captures
the brand of Italian modernity after the years
of “Berlusconification.” As the Italian daily
la
Repubblica
commented, “Sorrentino uses this
noveltodealwithItaly’sunstoppabledescent
into today’s dazed, corrupted and tragically
foolish reality.”
In a fast-moving, Raymond Chandler type
plot,
Everybody’s Right
tells the story ofTony
Pagoda, a talentless Neapolitan crooner,
cokehead, and male chauvinist who suc-
ceedsingainingthecheapfameofthekind
promisedintheBerlusconiera—including
fame, money, and the saucy accessibility
of 18-year-olds (or sometimes younger)
aspiring newscasters and dancing girls.
At the peak of his glory, Sorrentino’s
quintessential anti-hero seems to mus-
ter the secret of mundane success, when he cynically reflects:
“Only those that nobodywants to listen tohave careers.It’smore convenient.
That way the people, the public, who haven’t achieved much in their lives,
can feel better about their own failure by seeing themselves reflected in the
fellowup there on stage,just a fewmetres higher than them.”Indeedhis suc-
cess stretches over borders and across the seas.But somewhere things begin
to go awry, the public’s tastes inmusic is changing.Tony decides to leave the
music world and start over, making a clean break with the past, traveling
Brazil andSouthAmerica in searchof anewlife for himself.Here,his peculiar
vision of the world, irreversibly shaped by those years in which enjoyed the
adorationofaudiencestheworldover,isunderassault.Theworldstrikeshim
as a barren place that is completely at odds with his understanding of it. In
the final chapters, back to his country as the house singer for a Berlusconi
stand-in,Tony ends up in a life of infinite license, where “everybody’s right.”
Yet he remains cursed by his special brand of integrity—or we should better
say naivety, as he realizes that, beyond the villas of the superrich,“it’s all just
one huge rape.”Which masterfully brings us back to the conclusion of the
very first chapter, set in Manhattan where Pagoda meets idol Frank Sinatra,
and ends up first serviced and then robbed by a trio ofTimes Square whores.
“Why don’t things like that ever happen to Frank Sinatra? Maybe because he
doesn’t go around picking up whores in Times Square.”
TheStateofaNation
Just Before “TheGreat Beauty”
Everybody’sRight
PaoloSorrentino
Europa Editions
pages
240
$
15.00
52
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i-
Italyny
|
June-July 2014
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OneMoreDay
FabioVolo
Mondadori
pages
286
$
12.03
BOOK
Giacomo
has the perfect life.
A young man with
a way with wom-
en, he has an (in-
herited) apart-
ment and a good
job. However, he
finds life boring.
But one day, things change and his
usual routine is interrupted when a
fascinating woman asks him out for
coffee. From that point on, Giacomo
will embark upon a love story and
confront the realities of modern rela-
tionships.
L’AmoreComporta
BiagioAntonacci
Imports
$
39.98
MUSIC
The four-
theenth album in
a brilliant 26-year
career as singer-
songwriter, this is
Biagio Antonacci’s musical tribute
to love! Written and recorded be-
tween Los Angeles and Milan, it re-
counts the artist’s version of “love”
in a musical interpretation of the
complicated language of emotions.
Gioia
Modà
Ultrasuoni
$
21.65
MUSIC
The Ital-
ian band Modà
released this new
album in 2013.
With 12 wonder-
ful tracks, “Gioia”
was an enormous hit all over Italy,
selling more than 200,000 copies in
2013 alone, confirming the public’s
affection for the band.The band has
won several Italian and international
music awards including among oth-
ers the Venice Music Awards (2010),
TRL Awards (2010 nd 2011), and MTV
Europe Music Awards (Best Italian
Act, 2011).
Downloadour
iPhone
app
ASoldierontheSouthern
Front
EmilioLussu
Rizzoli Ex Libris
pages
278
$
26.95
BOOK
Emilio
Lussu (1890-1975)
recounts his time
as an infantry-
man in World
War I, inviting
us to see the war
through the eyes
of a Sardinian
officer fighting
the Austrian army on the Asiago pla-
teau, the alpine front located on the
northeast of Italy. Lussu’s memoir
highlights the futility of war: absurd
missions,loftypatriotic rhetoric,tragic
and sometimes grotesque events,and
the perilous incompetency of his own
side under enemy fire.
Game forFive
MarcoMalvaldi
Europa Editions
pages
144
$
15.00
BOOK
Set in a
small town near
Livorno, the story
is about four old-
timers and Mas-
simo, the barman
at Bar Lume, who
get to chatting
about the murder
of a young woman in their town. In
an attempt to solve the mystery, they
argue over possible suspects and tear
the case to pieces, forcing Massimo to
assume the role of investigator.
ThingsNoOneKnows
AlessandroD’Avenia
Mondadori
pages
216
$
11.44
BOOK
Margheri-
ta is fourteenyears
old, ready to face
her new life as a
high school fresh-
man with the cer-
tainty that she can
rely on her loved
ones. One day she
receives a voicemail from her father
saying that he is not coming back
home. Her world falls apart.When her
teacher draws Margherita’s attention
to the courage of Telemachus in the
Odyssey, she sets out on a journey in
search of her father that will change
everything.
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