Reading aloud (twenty years after)

Giuseppe Culicchia

Born in Turin in 1965, Giuseppe Culicchia began his career as a translator and independent journalist.  In 1995 he became famous with his first novel Tutti giù per terra (We all fall down, 1994) even adapted to film in 1997. The protagonist, Walter, is a young man that fights to find his way in a society where precarious jobs and uncertainty made everything astonishingly difficult.  Twenty years after, Culicchia wrote again about Walter in Tutti giù per terra Remix, but now Walter is a guy living in a contemporary Italy. The discovery? Sadly, nothing is changed.

If in 1994 we all were felling down, now it seems we are all below ground. 
Yes, I was curious to see how the story could be adapted in our time, and sadly while writing it I realized how things in Italy are even worse now. I know, this novel is a bit more cynical than the original one. Am I pessimistic?  Fassbinder was often accused to shot pessimistic movies. He used to reply that he didn’t want to teach anything, he just wanted to tell stories. I would like to encourage people to ask questions themselves, not to give them facts.

In fact, there are just a couple of positive characters:  auntie Carlotta (who suddenly dies) and you as yourself in a cameo. Why did you put Giuseppe Culicchia – the writer?
Usually people ask me how autobiographical my novels are. I hate that. What is the point? To my mind, only the book is important and nothing else.  So I put myself in the novel to avoid any doubts.

Facebook seems to lead people to be more conformist, even worse, to think less.
I have nothing against social networks. They can be really useful for work and for sharing contents. At the same time I cannot deny that this excess of communication is often just a monologue, and it reveals  our loneliness and .how we are trapped in our dramatic individualism. We seem not to be able anymore to take part in a real community.

More so in Italy?
In all Western society, I believe. However Italy is a good example of that individualism. We have never had a proper revolution, a rebellion. We have never been a nation, a real community. More, we are so conformist. Before 25th April we were all fascist, after all partisans. ‘If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change’,  Tomasi di Lampedusa wrote.  That is still so true.

What do you like of British people?
I like their strength.  The first time I came in London – long time ago – it was February, and I was shocked to see so many men in t-shirt! I thought: ‘Damn! They are tough’. And what is about the Second World War? A strong nation, with all its defects of course, but able to react and civic-minded.

Something positive about Italy…
A really nice place to spend your holiday! We have an amazing quality of life, and landscapes, culture, landmarks. However we don’t look after them how we should.

So, it is not really positive…
I love Italy, that’s why I am so critical, so harsh. I have a deep love for my country. It is such a waste. We have a lot of resources, we could do better.

What do you think about  Roberto Saviano  (author of Gomorra) at the Italian TV talent show ‘Amici’ by Maria de Filippi ?
Gomorra is a brand, a gadget book, like an iPhone. Everyone has a copy at home. The fact that now Saviano takes part in the most famous Italian talent show is not a coincidence, in my opinion.  I can say that in the last decades commercial TV has been really powerful, conforming Italian culture, and not in a good way.