Tuesday, February 21, 2023

A violent life (Una vita violenta) - Pierpaolo Pasolini

Pierpaolo Pasolini - poet, novelist, journalist, political commentator, civil rights activist and movie director - is one of the very nicest Italian (and European) intellectuals of the 20th century. Clever, knowledgeable, well read, refined, independent, original and brave, he has had and still has a great impact on Italian culture, society and politics.
“A violent life” is his second novel based in post WWII Rome (the first one being “The street kids”, original title: “Ragazzi di vita”). Set among rubbles, dirt, mud and shacks, featuring the city’s poorest as main characters, the novel deals with the life of Tommaso Puzzilli, a confused young guy torn between the bad and the good sides of his character, which pushes him to pursue an adventurous criminal lifestyle today and inflames his heart with love and strife for justice tomorrow.
The Italian version is full of outdated Roman jargon, with which even Italians born and bred in Rome nowadays might not be familiar. Pasolini included a brief glossary (glossarietto) at the end of the book. Plus, the context makes most of the dialogs understandable anyway.
His style reminded me of Irvine Welsh’s “Trainspotting”, with all those Scottish expressions. Who knows, maybe Welsh at some time did read Pasolini’s works and was inspired by him. I’m not sure about Welsh, but I definitely was.

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