Sandro Veronesi

Sandro Veronesi, born in Prato, Tuscany in 1959, is an Italian novelist, essayist, and journalist. After earning a degree in architecture at the University of Florence, he opted for a writing career in his mid to late twenties. Veronesi published his first book at the age of 25, a collection of poetry ("Il resto del cielo" 1984) that has remained his only venture into verse writing. What has followed since includes five novels, three books of essays, one theatrical piece, numerous introductions to novels and collections of essays, interviews, screenplays, and television programs.

"Il resto del cielo" consists of twenty-five short compositions, none longer than fourteen verses, that speak to the general problematics of communication, all of which is underscored by a constant "coincidentia oppositorum". Seemingly simple verses, they speak eloquently to the narrating voice’s quotidian landscape.

His first novel, "Per dove parte questo treno allegro" (1988), is the story of a typical relationship of the 1980s between father and son. A troubled rapport between them, the father is an adventurous businessman who, while deep in debt, has squirreled away a few hundred thousand dollars in Switzerland. The son, an insipid thirty-year-old, who acts half his age, is a do-nothing with strange habits. While the two spend a few strained weeks together, their lives eventually begin to find some similarities.

With his second novel, "Gli sfiorati" (1990), Veronesi approaches the family thematics in a much more dramatic fashion. A family recomposed of two previously split ones, here too the father and son experience a troubled relationship. Mete, however, finds comfort in a developing rapport with his beautiful stepsister. All this takes place in Rome, intertwined with other narratives of various social types that one might expect to find in such a chaotic metropolis that Veronesi depicts. Experimental, in some ways, this novels verges on the fantastic, while the author offers up a portrait of the early nineties and its polymorphous, youthful generation, represented herein by the literal, and metaphorical, sign of “schiumevolezza.”

Faithful to the theme of troubled relationships between two people of different generations, "Venite venite" B-52 (1995) changes the dynamics to that of father-daughter. As he did in his previous novels, especially in Gli sfiorati, here too Veronesi offers up a gallery of extraordinary characters, beginning with the father, Ennio Miraglia, a representation of the 1980s consumerist Italy, and his daughter Viola, whose desire to free herself of her father’s Italy is underscored in the novel’s title, her hopes that the American bombers come and destroy that which she abhors.

"La forza del passato" (2000; Premio Viareggio L. Repaci and the Premio Campiello) continues the father-son relationship. This time, however, the father is absent (dead), and – again different from before – we move from a positive memory of the dead father to one that questions his son’s knowledge of who he truly was. Gianni Orzan is a writer of children’s books whose life is suddenly shattered when he realizes that what he always believed about his father, and by extension of himself, may have all been a façade. Through Gianni’s eventual stream-of-consciousness, both he and the novel’s reader constantly shift between the present and, through the character’s memory, the past.

"Ring City" (2001) is a “children’s novel,” for lack of a better term. As such, it figures as a wonderful companion piece to "La forza del passato", as it is surely a book Gianni Orzan would have written. Topolino (Mickey Mouse) must confront the Fosterman clan, who has taken over the once tranquil city of Vocalia, transforming it into a giant boxing ring.

"Caos calmo" (2005) won him Italy's most prestigious award, the Strega. Having lost his "wife" to an unnatural death, Pietro Paladini is able to recover his existential bearings only after re-examing life from its metaphorical underbelly, in his subsequent dealings with the people in his life, especially when he unorthodoxly hangs around in front of his daughter's school.

"Brucia Troia" (2007) is Veronesi's latest novel, being released May 2007.

An assiduous essayist, much of the material in his non-fiction collections appeared in various daily and weekly newspapers and magazines, and serials, which include: "Il manifesto", "Epoca", "Il Gambero Rosso", "La Gazzetta del Prato", l"’Unità", "Nuovi Argomenti", "Panta", "Corriere della Sera". These books to date include: "Cronache italiane" (1992) and "Live. Ritratti, sopralluoghi e collaudi" (Bompiani, 1996), each of which originate chiefly from his journalistic writings. "Occhio per occhio. La pena di morte in quattro storie" (1992), instead, is an integral study of the death penalty and how it is administered in four different localities around the world: Sudan, Taiwan, the Soviet Union, and California. In 2002, Bompiani brought out his previous two collections, together with his "“Nuove cronache”" (1996-2002), in "Superalbo. Le storie complete".

In addition to the above, he has also written numerous introductions of various sorts for numerous books that range from novels to collections of essays on many topics. Including soccer and rock music. Most recently, he ventured into the world of theater with his No Man’s Land (2003), a drama originating from and similar to Danis Tanovic’s film of 2001, this time however with a good dose of Veronesi’s caustic irony.

Bibliography

Fiction

* "Il resto e il cielo". Prato: Edizioni del Palazzo, 1984.
* "Per dove parte questo treno". Rome: Theoria, 1988
* "Gli sfiorati". Milan: Mondadori, 1990.
* "Venite venite B-52". Milan: Feltrinelli, 1995.
* "La forza del passato". Milan: Bompiani, 2000.
* "Ring City". Milan: Disney, 2001.
* "No Man’s Land". Milan: Bompiani: 2003.
* "Caos calmo". Milan: Bompiani, 2005.
* "Brucia Troia". Milan: Bompaini, 2007.

Non-fiction

* "Cronache italiane". Milan: Mondadori, 1991.
* "Occhio per occhio. La pena di morte in quattro storie". Milan: Mondadori, 1992.
* "Live. Ritratti, sopralluoghi e collaudi". Milan: Bompiani, 1996.
* "Superalbo. Le storie complete". Milan: Bompiani, 2002.

Introductions, essays, and interviews

* “Il trattino, uno e trino,” interview with Francesca Serafini in "Punteggiatura". Alessandro Baricco, Filippo Taricco, Giorgio Vasta, Dario Voltolini, eds. BUR: Scuola Holden, 2001, p 145-54.
* “John Fante: la giovinezza come destino” in John Fante." Un anno terribile". Rome: Fazi, 2001, p 7-16.
* “Cento piccoli Totti,” Nuovi argomenti (January-March 2000) 5th series: 84-93.
* “Interview” with Cristiana Lardo, in "L’ultima letteratura italiana: scrittori a Tor Vergata: interventi ed interviste". Cristiana Lardo and Fabio Pierangeli, eds. Rome: Vecchiarelli, 1999, p 135-41.
* “Tra gli Smith e san Paolo (epigrafi)” in "Improvviso il novecento: Pasolini professore". Giordano Meacci, ed. Rome: Minimum Fax, 1999, p 189-226. (interview/essay)
* “Tirchieria del racconto e generosità del romanzo,” in "Seminario sul racconto". Luigi Rustichelli, ed. Boca Raton: Bordighera Press, 1998, p 48-59.
* “Interview”, with Laura Lepri, in "Panta": special issue, “Scrittura creativa. La scrittura creativa raccontata dagli scrittori che la insegnano,” Laura Lepri, ed. Milano: Bompiani, 1997, p 45-55.
* “Ma smettetela di chiamarci giovani scrittori,” "L’Unità", 8 aprile 1995: 21.

Translations

* Alastair McEwen: "The Force of the Past". New York: Ecco, 2003.

Further reading

* Barbara Castaldo, “Sandro Veronesi” in "Dictionary of Literary Biography: Contemporary Italian Fiction". Columbia: Bruccoli Clark Layman. Forthcoming.
* Filippo La Porta, “Sandro Veronesi” in La nuova narrativa italiana: travestimenti e stili di fine secolo. Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 1995. 58-62.
* Cristiana Lardo, “Sandro Veronesi: dichiarazione d’amore,” in "L’ultima letteratura italiana: scrittori a Tor Vergata: interventi ed interviste". Cristiana Lardo and Fabio Pierangeli, eds. Rome: Vecchiarelli, 1999. 133-34.
* Stefania Meli, “Esistenze abusive nei romanzi di Sandro Veronesi,” in L’ultima letteratura italiana: scrittori a Tor Vergata: interventi ed interviste. Cristiana Lardo e Fabio Pierangeli, eds. Rome: Vecchiarelli, 1999. 142-46;
* Anthony Julian Tamburri, “Abitare in limine: "Per dove parte questo treno" [mica tanto] "allegro",” "Esperienze letterarie". Vol. 40 (2005): forthcoming, 37 ms.


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