Gian Arturo Ferrari
Ragazzo italiano (Italian Boy)
Feltrinelli, a novel, February 2020, 310 pages

Premio Strega 2020 finalist

“Novels walk on the legs of the characters and the characters of Ragazzo italiano strike you from their very first appearance on the scene.” Paolo Di Stefano, Corriere della Sera

“Flashes of the Italian backdrop light up the story.” Corrado Augias, Il Venerdì 

“Ferrari wrote a true novel.” Margaret Mazzantini

“The autobiography of a nation.” Ernesto Ferrero, Tuttolibri

“The story of the young protagonist becomes a symbol for national history. Surprising.” Eraldo Affinati, Il Riformista

“A novel that shows a true narrative desire and the ability to engage the reader throughout the coming of age arc.” Maurizio Cucchi, Avvenire

Ninni is a child of postwar Italy. His life traverses hardships recalling the industrial revolution in provincial Lombardy, the decline of rural civilization in Emilia, and the explosion of life of in a Milan undergoing reconstruction. Through it all, Ninni learns about the pitfalls of emotions, suffering, and the pain hidden even in the closest bonds. As a boy, thanks to his grandmother, he discovers he can leverage the immense continent of experiences and emotions that books open wide before his eyes. Having become aware of himself and his wearying autonomy, the boy carves out, in the name of curiosity and the will to know, what promises to be his place in the world.

The story of Ragazzo italiano (Italian Boy) reflects the history of the whole country – the harshness, poverty, anxiety about the future – the story of a generation born of the war but determined to carry out projects and dreams beyond that tragedy. An Italy where school is the springboard for social advancement, and the future is crowded with expectations and promises. An Italy still alive in the deep memory of the country, in the familiar vicissitudes of many Italians. Ferrari gives it body and breath, without any self-indulgence, with a crystalline and austere style, often raw, and a timbre of courageous sincerity. Able to express the freshness of the protagonist and a multitude of flashing characters of the future.

“Once the ties with the nest were cut – eliminating, in practice, obligations and duties – Ninni, to his intimate amazement, discovered that other things were left and they existed. Indeed, he existed.”

Gian Arturo Ferrari

Gian Arturo Ferrari after graduating in Classical Literature at Pavia University, led a double life for a little while. On one hand the life of the university professor, teaching History of scientific thinking from 1977 at Pavia University. On the other hand he began working in publishing, first with Edgardo Macorini at Mondadori, then for a decade with Paolo Boringhieri, at the homonymous publishing house. He then became non-fiction editor at Mondadori in 1984 and head of Rizzoli Libri in 1986. He went back to Mondadori in 1988 and in 1989 he resigned from University, choosing publishing as his only life. In the early 90s he’s been head of Libri Mondadori and from 1997 to 2009 he’s been general manager of Libri Mondadori division, including Einaudi, Electa, Sperling&Kupfer, Edumond and later on Piemme, besides Mondadori. From 2010 to 2014 he was head of Centro per il libro e la lettura (Center for the Book and Reading of the Ministry of Culture). In 2011 he created and curated the exhibition 1861-2011 L’Italia dei libri – La storia di un Paese fra le pagine, for the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. From 2015 to 2018 he has been the vice-president of Mondadori Libri. He is a regular contributor and a columnist for the Corriere della Sera and president of Collegio Ghislieri Foundation. In 2014 he published Libro with Bollati Boringhieri. Ragazzo italiano (2020) is his first novel.

 

“Novels walk on the legs of the characters and the characters of Ragazzo italiano strike you from their very first appearance on the scene.” Paolo Di Stefano, Corriere della Sera

“Flashes of the Italian backdrop light up the story.” Corrado Augias, Il Venerdì 

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