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Roman Holiday

August 2005

If July featured our antipasti, here are the secondi of WWB’s summer in Italy. Our selections range from the grace and hope of the classic Elena Belotti’s “Abandoned Garden” to jaded contemporaries like Antonio Moresco, with his bitter satire of contemporary Italian values, “The Pigs.” Tiziano Scarpa calls to life the human statues outside the Duomo in an Italian town. Maria Pace Ottieri depicts the underside of European prosperity in “Flies and Spiders,” set in an immigrant ghetto of Milan. Marco Baliani takes a similar trip when his theater director casts slum children, the poorest of the poor in Nairobi, in a production of Pinocchio. Alternating bright and dark humor, Silvia Ballestra in “All About My Grandmother” (featuring a dialectical word coiner) and Luigi Malerba in “Bakarak” (presenting a diet doctor who argues that we are what we speak) evoke the mysterious physical and emotional powers of language, while the poet Milo de Angelis charts the mute map of the end of an affair. We also offer excerpts from two Italian historical novels forthcoming in English: Erri De Luca’s Three Horses, and Gianni Riotta’s Alborada. And, again, we toast our guest editor, Benedetta Centovalli, for serving up this delectable menu.