Francesco Piccolo
L'animale che mi porto dentro (The Animal I Carry Within Me)
A novel, Einaudi, November 2018, 236 pages

“Merciless and moving, we keep reading it, hungry for one more story until the last page, until the last word: that’s where everything begins, like in all the great novels.” La Stampa – TuttoLibri

“A book of rare freedom, fierce.” Rivista Studio

“This novel breaks many taboos and lets visceral secrets come to light. It turns out, men have them too”. Silvia Avallone

In a world that has always been governed by men, understanding males is the only key to looking ahead.

How many things is a man made of? Sensitivity, ferocity, eroticism and romanticism, weakness, power. It is not the old game of opposites, but the deep root of one of the cornerstones of our society. Francesco Piccolo recounts, as only he can, the life of many through one.
The pains of love, even the most devastating pain, sometimes end when it’s lunch time: “I have said to myself, and to humanity, with a single unconscious gesture, hence instinctive, hence absolute: I am hungry. And somehow, I also told myself something that would stay with me for the rest of my life: I can do it.”
The story is turbulent, serious, funny, ruthless and sly. The material, as always, is life. The object, a central nexus of the world in which we live. If Il desiderio di essere come tutti (Wanna Be Like Everyone) was the story of the impact of politics on the individual sphere (and vice versa),this novel is about how to be a male – any male as well as a specific one – in our contemporary world. The need to belong to the group and the risk of being an individual, the school as a battlefield, the link between brutality and fear, Sandokan and Malizia, pimples and sex, love and marriage, selfishness and tenderness: it takes considerable courage to investigate the depth of the masculine, that is, if it exists.

“What I kept compressed inside me – during gym class or watching Maciste movies, or some nights when I went to bed scared – was the anguish of having to prove I was a man. To show it to everyone, every hour, every day, every week. And every time I did, I had to take account of my inadequacy.
In the end, I am an individual who carries a group inside him, like a beast that continues to follow him.”

Francesco Piccolo

Francesco Piccolo - © Andrea De Meo

Francesco Piccolo was born in Caserta and lives in Rome.
He is the author of Scrivere è un tic. I metodi degli scrittori (1994), Storie di primogeniti e figli unici (1996), E se c’ero, dormivo (1998), Il tempo imperfetto (2000), Allegro occidentale (2003), L’Italia spensierata (2007), La separazione del maschio (2008), Momenti di trascurabile felicità (2010), Il desiderio di essere come tutti (2013), winner of the Premio Strega in 2014 and of the Premio Padula, Momenti di trascurabile infelicità (2015), L’animale che mi porto dentro (2018). He is among the authors of the anthology The Passenger – Roma (2021). His most recent book is Momenti trascurabili Vol. 3 (2020).
He wrote award-winning works for cinema, theater and radio. He worked on the screenplays for a number of popular movie directors, including Nanni Moretti (Il CaimanoHabemus PapamMia madre), Paolo Virzì (My name is TaninoLa prima cosa bellaIl capitale umano, Ella & John – The Leisure Seeker, Notti magiche), Francesca Archibugi (Il nome del figlio, Gli sdraiati), Silvio Soldini (Agata e la tempestaGiorni e nuvole), Marco Bellocchio (Il traditore). He scripted the tv series My Brilliant Friend, based on the international bestseller by the same name, by Elena Ferrante, and the movie by Daniele Luchetti Momenti di trascurabile felicità, based on his books. He’s been a writer on many tv shows, such as Vieni via con meQuello che (non) hoViva il 25 aprile Falcone e Borsellino. For the theatre in 2019 he wrote Satyricon, directed by Andrea De Rosa. He is a regular contributor to la Repubblica.

 

 

 

L’animale che mi porto dentro, a selected press review (PDF)

 

Francesco Piccolo on Che Tempo Che Fa (starting at 1:54:00)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Francesco Piccolo on Fahrenheit (Radio 3)
Listen to the interview:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Merciless and moving, we keep reading it, hungry for one more story, until the last page, until the last word: that’s where everything begins, like in all the great novels.” La Stampa – TuttoLibri

“It’s not a novel, it’s not an essay, it’s not an autobiography, it’s a story that creates the illusion of a reality that is more real than reality itself.” Il Foglio

“An extraordinary reflection of what we are and we would rather not be.” Il Corriere della Sera

“A book of rare freedom, fierce.” Rivista Studio

“This novel breaks many taboos and lets visceral secrets come to light. It turns out, men have them too”. Silvia Avallone

“An anti-romantic book in which a new romantic knight tells the entanglements between power and the beast”. Valeria Parrella

“A fundamental scientific essay on the male mediterranean psyche that will be studied and passed on.” Paolo Virzì

 

Foreign publishers of Francesco Piccolo works
Albania: Fjala
Bulgaria: Ciela
Croatia: Hena
Egypt: Beba Editions
France: Denoël
Germany: Insel
The Netherlands: Wereldbibliotheek
Russia: Corpus
Serbia: Laguna
Spain: Anagrama
Spain (Catalan): Univers

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