“If you can write something, then it means you can understand it.”
At St. Sophia Institute, Jacopo is the only boy in the class, and at eight years old his relationship with women is already complicated. Starting with his relationship with his mother, who makes him memorize verses from Majakovsky, put out cigarette butts in his dishes, and is consumed with the will to live. It is clear to the school sisters that that girl with the too-short T-shirt is at the root of Jacopo’s behaviors: taciturn, all too interested in her classmates’ legs, and above all fixated on writing. His essays, which always have her as the main character, make the rounds of the school. His mother and father do not live together but have never stopped arguing furiously, she in Italian and he in Neapolitan, he a butcher and she a secretary at Brahms music editions. One night, Jacopo and the secretary-that’s what he calls his mother-move abusively into a tenement building in the Rione delle mosche: two envelopes, a box, and a school bag as their only luggage. The elevator does not work and the bathroom has no door, but there is only one bed to sleep in: if Jacopo had to choose a perfect moment in his life, he would point to that one. In the ward there is also his father’s butcher shop, and in the afternoons Jacopo locks himself in the refrigerated room filling sheets to wrap the meat with words. Jacopo’s is a failed sentimental upbringing, and reading it often escapes a laugh. One disastrous encounter after another, until the ultimate catastrophe: the meeting with Veronica, teacher of wonder and escape. A bitter, ironic, abrasive novel that reveals a new voice of unusual freshness, in which smiles and emotion coexist on every page. Gianni Solla makes his place among writers capable of facing pain head-on, with great confidence in literature.