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A Very Normal Man

Vincenzo Cerami, Isobel Grave

A Very Normal Man
A Very Normal Man is the first English translation of Vincenzo Cerami's first and most famous novel, Un borghese piccolo piccolo. The complex word play of the Italian title is untranslatable in English; it means literally a very little, very middle-class man. Little he may be, but Giovanni Vivaldi, to paraphrase Italo Calvino's words, is a victim who is also a monster. This is a revenge story whose protagonist tortures his enemy with the same attention to detail he'd apply to the files he's slogged over for half a lifetime in the office for pensions. And with the same detachment.

This classic caught the attention of the greatest figures of the day on the Italian literary scene for its unique amalgam of the storyteller's gifts, its expose of society's subterranean forces, and its black (as well as not so dark) humour.

Praise for A Very Normal Man:
'This book sweeps like a searchlight across the dark spots in Italian society of the era: graft, hypocrisy, corrupt institutions and violent crime ... a ferocious if brief critique of Italian society in the 1970s.' - Kerryn Goldsworthy, Sydney Morning Herald

'This is the sort of writing that gets me in ... A devastating indictment of middle-class life that is superficial, self-centred and morally corrupt in a society which seems to be not much better. A fascinating read.' - Sue Terry, Whispering Gums

'In the writing, there is simplicity which leads to a vivid portrayal of a very ordinary life with its routine, frustrations and limitations.' - Emily Sutherland, Transnational Literature

'The translation of this text has brought this cleverly crafted story to our attention and this is worthy of study, despite its macabre aspects, and the journey into Italy in the period post - 1969, with its potential for corruption at even the most basic level is intriguing. Highly recommended.' - Carolyn Hull, ReadPlus

'Short and sweet at just over 100 pages, A Very Normal Man punches above its weight - and that’s the point ... Giovanni, a small insignificant man, demonstrates he’s capable of great and terrible things.' - Rosie Manins, Otago Daily Times

'An interesting little book with a dark side many will appreciate, a story of coping with tragedy - and getting even…' - Tony's Reading List

Vincenzo Cerami (1940-2013) is not just highly acclaimed as a novelist and nonfiction writer, but is also famous for his contribution to Italian cinema as the screenwriter of celebrated films such as the 1997 production La vita e bella (Life is beautiful), which he co-authored with Roberto Benigni. Un borghese piccolo piccolo (A Very Normal Man), written in 1976, is Cerami's first novel and it brought him instant acclaim.

Isobel Grave is Cassamarca lecturer in Italian language and literature at the University of South Australia. She is a NAATI qualified professional translator and interpreter and a published translator of poetry from Italian into English.
Category Literature - Fiction
Format Paperback
Size 210 x 135 mm
ISBN 9781743053713
Extent 128 pages
Price: AU$24.95 including GST
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