Sunday, December 25, 2011

Giorgio Bocca has died

I'm coming out of my holiday hibernation for a good reason. Right after finishing the movie Le quattro volte (which I'll be reviewing shortly) on Netflix, I sauntered over to the site of La Repubblica to see what, if anything, was going on in the world this boring Christmas day (Christmas on a Sunday, the double whammy). To my surprise I found the large headlines announcing the death of writer and journalist Giorgio Bocca.

It shouldn't have been a surprise as Bocca was 91. But he was one of those people who you don't think of as dying, due to their enduring vitality, lucidity and youthfulness. I've read a lot of his work, and it has influenced me greatly in my perception of contemporary Italy.

Bocca was from a small town in Northern Italy and identified strongly with his origins all his life, being among other things critical (in a politically incorrect way) of Southern Italy and of all the stereotypical faults of Italians, to the point of calling himself "l'anti-italiano." He had a special distaste for all Mafias, and for fascism. In his long and prolific career, he addressed practically everything you can imagine about politics, trends and events in post-war Italy (he was in the Resistance during WWII).

Little is available in English from his vast production, but if you read Italian you will find that he has a direct and engaging style, and is not difficult. You can begin by looking up his byline online, and choose from one of the many topics he pursued. Here is a good selection to start you off. From there, you can perhaps explore one or more of his books. Not to be missed if you have an interest in the real and not just the tourist Italy.