domingo, 24 de mayo de 2020

ARCANOS DEL DESEO - Gabriel-Aldo Bertozzi



En esta novela, la búsqueda de la inmortalidad se entrelaza con una historia de amor. En su viaje a Egipto, el protagonista, el arquitecto Martin de Freycenet-Latour, se enamora de una nueva Nefertiti. Las aventuras contadas a lo largo de la novela tienen lugar en el otoño de 2010, en la orilla del río Nilo y en Francia (París, Chartres, Reims). 

En el camino de la existencia, el autor, como alquimista, aniquila la soledad de los seres para hacer escuchar la música del universo a través de un camino de iniciación, de emancipación. 

En la novela, el lector encontrará amor, locura, esoterismo, masonería, mito, vagabundeo y... un código para la inmortalidad. El autor, experto en técnicas de narración, las supera en el cuento para ofrecer una obra de un nuevo género. 

Gabriel-Aldo Bertozzi, autor también de la novela De vuelta a Zanzíbar, Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (República Francesa), es más conocido como el fundador del Inismo, un movimiento vanguardista fundado en París. Escritor, dramaturgo, artista, ha enseñado en numerosas universidades italianas y extranjeras. Dirige colecciones de libros en Francia, España e Italia y es codirector de la revista Bérénice que él mismo fundó. 

François Proïa es catedrático de literatura francesa en la Universidad G. d’Annunzio de Chieti-Pescara, Italia. Artista, escritor histórico y teórico del Inismo, ha participado en las manifestaciones más importantes del movimiento en Europa y en América y ha traducido y publicado en italiano esta misma novela, de la que ha escrito también la introducción. 

Silvia Cañas Gómez es licenciada en filología por la Universidad Complutense de Madrid y trabaja como lectora de lengua española en la Universidad G. d’Annunzio en Chieti-Pescara. Ha trabajado como traductora y profesora de Enseñanza Secundaria de lengua española e inglesa en España, Inglaterra, Estados Unidos e Italia. 

Me encontré en un río en llamas sumergido en la oscuridad. El increíble gorgoteo había incluso succionado el silencio. Sin embargo, no me horrorizó esa visión, me sentía libre, libre de cualquier temor. Una calma infinita me inundaba la mente. Mi corazón era ligero. Habían desaparecido los latidos de la esperanza. Me parecía maravilloso que yo, punto infinitesimal, condenado a morir, formase parte de tan gran potencia
Gabriel-Aldo Bertozzi

miércoles, 13 de mayo de 2020


A Hobo autobiography  
Jim Tully

This novelistic memoir impressed readers and reviewers with its remarkable vitality and honesty. Jim Tully left his hometown of St. Marys, Ohio, in 1901, spending most of his teenage years in the company of hoboes. Drifting across the country as a road kid, he spent those years scrambling into boxcars, sleeping in hobo jungles, avoiding railroad cops, begging meals from back doors, and haunting public libraries. Tully crafted these memories into a weird and astonishing chronicle of the American underclass, in this autobiographical novel published in 1924. Tully saw it all, from a church baptism in the Mississippi River to election day in Chicago. Tully's devotion to Mark Twain and Jack London taught him the importance of giving the reader a sense of place, and this he does brilliantly, again and again. Many saw the dark side of the American dream, but none wrote about it like Jim Tully. 

Jim Tully (June 3, 1886 – June 22, 1947) was a vagabond, pugilist, and American writer. Known as Cincinnati Red during his years as a road-kid, he counted prizefighter and publicist of Charlie Chaplin among his many jobs. He also memorably crossed paths with Jack London, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, and Langston Hughes. He is considered one of the inventors of the hard-boiled style of American writing. 

«Tramping in wild and windy places, without money, food, or shelter, was better for me than supinely bowing to any conventional decree of fate. The road gave me one jewel beyond price, the leisure to read and dream. If it made me old and wearily wise at twenty, it gave me for companions the great minds of all the ages, who talked to me with royal words». 

Jim Tully

viernes, 8 de mayo de 2020

John Fante, the Most Italian of the American Writers by Gabriele Nero. English Translation by Gaston Gorga

Holden Caulfield, the main character of “The Catcher in the Rye” had a very simple method for judging a writer: “(....) when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. (...)”. Well, personally I would have spent hours listening to John Fante recounting the impossible stories about his family. I would have loved sharing a great spaghetti meal and a good bottle of wine with him, going out partying, or just having a drink together in some absurd bar in the outskirts of Los Angeles.

 The story of John Fante (as well as that of Arturo Bandini, his literary alter ego), began in the periphery of the world, in Torricella Peligna, a little village in the mountains of Abruzzo, from where Nicola Fante, his bricklayer father, emigrated at the beginning of the twentieth century to seek fortune in America. 

The Fante family settled in Denver, Colorado, in the Midwest region, on the outskirts of the American Dream. In short, in the American Abruzzo. Here, the Fante family built their own little Italy with red wine and spaghetti, gambling debts, old ladies dressed in black, Sunday masses and profanities in Italian. 

But John Fante, in spite of being in his twenties during the Great Depression, was ambitious, and never stopped believing in his talent. Both Fante and Bandini had a big dream in common: Los Angeles, California. 

In all of Fante´s stories, even those in which the main character is not called Bandini (in some novels the main character is called Henry Molise), there is always a bus to catch, a journey to begin, a place to arrive, a city where to prove the worth of Arturo Bandini, even though, paradoxically, he seldom manages to achieve this. Baseball player, Hollywood screenwriter, writer, altar boy: the protagonist of his stories always has the typical Italian presumption of being the best at everything he does, but for different reasons (a combination of fate, humble origins and his Italian origin and Catholic background certainly does not help), he is never able to prove it. After all, his father Nicola Fante would have been the best bricklayer in Denver... if only they had hired him! John 

Fante did not accomplish international fame in life. But one should not picture the typical bohemian writer who died poor and amid hardships. Eventually, thanks to his distinctively Italian perseverance, Fante was successful in the world of Hollywood as a screenwriter, and lived the second part of his life as a rich American bourgeois, with a beautiful wife, four children, a two-storey villa in Malibu and a convertible car.

“Bandini is a terrone !” (despective nickname given by the North Italians to the South Italians, to indicate their loud and brash character), said Italian songwriter Vinicio Capossela, who was one of the first Italians to discover Fante. How to blame him? Like all terroni , Bandini is stubborn, arrogant, a mummy's boy, a womaniser and a drinker, but, at the same time, he is an authentic person, generous, instinctive and full of passion. He is a professional in the art of getting by and boasting his presumed talent, even though no one has any proof of it. But he’s so adamant about it, that he ends up persuading the reader. 

Like in a transfert , the reader finds himself more convinced by Fante’s style, a master of synthesis and elegance, than Bandini’s. In Fante’s prose, the phrases are extremely short, direct and simple, and they follow one another with a frantic rhythm, somewhat reminiscent of a verdict. Reading Fante is easy. His books can be appreciated by a fourteen-year-old boy as well as a grandfather in his eighties, by an occasional reader as well as a philosophy graduate. 

Reading Fante is fun and light-hearted. Nevertheless, it also confronts the reader with the will of fulfillment of a generation shaped by history: families dismembered by the first mass migration, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and two world wars. 

On the other hand, I believe Fante’s writings can only be fully understood by someone having directly or indirectly witnessed some form of migration. Furthermore, I don’t believe his works will ever join the pantheon of the American literary canon (being too Italian to be fully understood by contemporary America), the same way he will never be part of the Italian one (he wrote in American English, and was born in Denver, discarded!).

The Italianness of Fante reveals itself mostly as a sense of rebellion. John deeply loves the idea of the mestizo America as the land of dreams, and profoundly despises those Americans who betray these ideals, who discriminate against him, deride him and call him ‘ dago’ . To the smug rich little girl who boasts about her noble descent from Mary Stewart, the little Bandini retorts that he is the great-grandchild of Mingo, a bandit from Torricella Peligna. John idealises Torricella Peligna to the point of making it his identity refuge from where he can defend himself and counter-attack. 

Fante’s letters from Italy, collected in the book "Tesoro, qui è tutta una follia!" (It’s all madness here, darling!), where he tells of his travels in Europe between the 1950s and 1960s, are extremely amusing: his bucolic vision of post-Risorgimento Italy fades against the Americanised Rome of the Dolce Vita and the ‘ economic boom ’. While staying in Rome, Fante does not visit Torricella Peligna, despite being just over a hundred miles away, just not to risk becoming disillusioned.

It is perhaps in this non-identity, in this ego that sometimes self-deprecates and sometimes insults, at times Italian, other times American, sometimes conservative and sometimes democratic or anarchist, where the success of the literary character of Arturo Gabriel Bandini lies; unique, true and too modern even for us. 

Migrations, wars, second generations (or rather new mixed-race identities), economic crises and the consequent unemployment: these are all issues upon which we are forced to reflect today, perhaps even more than before. One can picture how forty years after his death, the voice of John Fante echoes loudly through millions of readers across the world, who discover the hidden treasure of one the greatest artists of the twentieth century. 

What I most admire about Fante, and therefore about Bandini, is his ferocious self-criticism. In fact, just when both John and Arturo seem to have accomplished their dream, they soon realise that perhaps it wasn't quite what they had once envisioned during the cold Colorado nights. Upon reaching California, they begin fantasising about a new life in Rome among ice cream parlours, Via del Corso, and thousands of small Fiat cars sweeping through the narrow streets where not even a mule with a cart would be able to get through. 

Even though Bandini had already experienced being cold and hungry during his youth, being marginalised for his Italian origins and finding himself broke and sleeping in abandoned boats by the ocean’s shore, his most bitter pages are undoubtedly those of "Dreams of Bunker Hill", where he describes the frustration of being hired and lavishly paid by a big Hollywood studio not to write. In fact, Bandini loves life too much to be locked inside an office, where he cannot write anything that satisfies neither him nor his producers. "I can't get no satisfaction" would become the anthem of the generation of Fante's children, yet, as the Stones sang, Bandini feels he is wasting his talent, and the only thing he can accomplish there is getting into trouble by seducing secretaries and literary agents. So Bandini, like a Franciscan, gives up everything and goes back to the cheap motel room he had left behind and starts writing. 

The Bandini saga culminates in the very moment that the literary character and the writer find themselves for the first time in front of a blank page and a typewriter. This is an excerpt from that moment, one of the last paragraphs that John, now blind and with his legs amputated because of diabetes, dictated to his wife Joyce in 1982: “But suppose I failed? Suppose I had lost all of my beautiful talent? (...) What would happen to me? Would I go to Abe Marx and become a busboy again? I had seventeen dollars in my wallet. Seventeen dollars and the fear of writing. I sat erect before the typewriter and blew on my fingers. Please God, please Knut Hamsun, don’t desert me now. I started to write and I wrote (...)”. 

John Fante tells us that it doesn't matter if you are Italian, Filipino or American, if you are an old person or a teenager, penniless or rich with a villa in Malibu. What matters is to stay alive, to have a California to dream of and a Torricella Peligna to always carry inside.

by Gabriele Nero 
English Translation by Gaston Gorga

lunes, 4 de mayo de 2020

CAGLIARI CAMPIONE - Enrico Romanetto & Riccardo Cecchetti

Un'isola, uno scudetto, un popolo

di Enrico Romanetto

con le illustrazioni di
Riccardo Cecchetti

C'è una storia da celebrare in questo 2020:  è quella del riscatto di un popolo intero. La vittoria del primo scudetto del Cagliari. L'epopea dei suoi campioni a partire da quel Luigi Riva che da Leggiuno ha scelto la Sardegna. Per sempre. Un'epica a cui presero parte Nené e Albertosi, guidati da Manlio Scopigno, il filosofo. El Doctor Sax ha scelto di farlo con una pubblicazione celebrativa che tiene insieme la storia di quel 1969/1970 e di un calcio che non è solo un solco nella memoria. Il giornalista Enrico Romanetto ha unito le forze con Riccardo Cecchetti, che ha illustrato per immagini l'impresa che Cagliari e il suo Casteddu meritano di festeggiare nel suo cinquantesimo.

La storia dello scudetto del Cagliari è stata senza dubbio la più epica e allo stesso tempo sentimentale, che il calcio italiano abbia mai vissuto e ancora oggi rappresenta più di un simbolo per chi tifa per squadre, cosiddette, “minori”. L’archetipo sportivo di Davide che batte Golia. In questo libro celebrativo il giornalista Enrico Romanetto e l’illustratore Riccardo Cecchetti ripercorrono, attraverso il racconto e le immagini, una delle imprese sportive più romantiche di sempre: lo scudetto del Cagliari 1969-70. Rivivremo le gesta di Riva, Nenè, Albertosi e compagni, guidati dall’allenatore filosofo Scopigno, oltre all’entusiasmo che quella fantastica squadra fu capace di regalare a tutta la Sardegna, andando oltre l’incredibile vittoria calcistica. Segnando, di fatto, il  riscatto di un’isola e di un popolo.

«Non senti come suona forte? Forte come il rombo del tuono, mica lo chiamavamo così per niente. E credimi che l’ho sentito, l’ho sentito pronunciare così forte che sembrava far tremare la terra. Per quanto potesse sembrare solo un sogno, l’apparizione di Luigi Riva da Leggiuno - a cui Gianni Brera aveva cambiato il nome in quella sorta di unico fonema, quasi un’onomatopea di rivalsa - per Pibiri era assolutamente reale e si mescolava con la storia del suo ritorno in Sardegna e di una squadra. Su Casteddu».

viernes, 1 de mayo de 2020

SANGUE E LATTE - Eugenio Di Donato


Sangue e Latte, in due parole l’esistenza. Ludovico Travagli, ragazzo introverso, cresciuto in campagna, per varie vicissitudini familiari si ritrova trapiantato in una grande città. La vita di Ludovico è segnata da alcuni eventi drammatici, e proprio il racconto di uno di questi darà inizio a una narrazione a spirale, che attraverserà momenti cruciali della sua esistenza, racconterà del desiderio di emergere per sottrarsi a un territorio, a un modo di fare, e perfino al proprio nome. Sangue e Latte affronta il grande tema della mancanza di comunicazione non solo tra generazioni diverse, ma anche fra i singoli individui, capovolgendo il ruolo tradizionale della famiglia nell’archetipo del luogo del disincontro.

Eugenio Di Donato (1976) cresce a Castelli, un paesino dell’Appennino abruzzese. Dopo la maturità si trasferisce a Milano. Si laurea in ingegneria, consegue il Phd e per anni si occupa di fisica della materia e architettura delle molecole. Nel 2016 decide di dedicarsi a tempo pieno alla scrittura.

«Per ora scrivo, mi concentro sulle parole. Sul senso che svelano. Sul racconto di un padre, un contadino che dissoda la terra, figlio di padri che avevano dissodato la terra, che alza lo sguardo e vede nel figlio, troppo alto e con i piedi e le mani troppo grandi, un fisico non adatto al lavoro nei campi. E per la prima volta nella catena dei padri e dei figli rinuncia a tramandare se stesso e gli dona un’altra possibilità. Mia madre mi ha spinto fuori di casa, ha agito come quel padre, anzi ha fatto di più, ha usato la sua forza per non farmi rientrare. Ha rotto la tradizione».