Books for Italian Dummies #4

In America with Oriana Fallaci II

Penelope alla guerra (‘Penelope at war’), Milano, Rizzoli, 1962.

And finally a beautiful novel, in which America is the co-star. The protagonist, Gio’, a scriptwriter, is sent to the States to create a terrific screenplay. At that time America was synonym of new, modern, as much as Europe, and Italy in particular, meant old, antique. Americans appeared as rich, powerful, almost omnipotent; convinced that happyness means wealth. Gio’ leaves Italy “con la con la fiducia di chi debba trovarci un miracolo”, full of faith, convinced she will find a miracle over there; and in fact she finds it. She is “hungry” of concrete, skyscrapers. She loves the States for their modernity and for her romantic idea of the Americans liberating heroes, constructed as a child, during WW2, when she fell for the American soldier Richard. In NYC Gio’ finds Martine, the quintessence of the city, gorgeous, gaudy, divorced and busy squeezing her ex-husband, well introduced in the glamourous life of New York, not use to meet working class people. A sort of Carrie Bradshaw ante litteram.

Gio’s boss instructs her: money is the new God, banks his cathedrals, Wall Street employees his priests.

New York is depicted as a magical realm where you can run away on a ferry boat over the ocean, and right after taking a cab to the Empire State Building and fly in the sky on an elevator, with the eyes wide open in amazement, like a child in never never land.

On the other land NYC is the city in which homeless people are kicked while lying down in the street, the city is full of the unheard cry of drunkards and insanes.

In conclusion a beatutiful portray of 1960 America, documentary, intertwined in a novel.


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