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The Worst Intentions [Paperback]

By Alessandro Piperno & Ann Goldstein (Translator)
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Item description for The Worst Intentions by Alessandro Piperno & Ann Goldstein...

"A resounding success! I'm telling everyone they must read it."-Gad Lerner, Vanity Fair

"Sumptuous, comic, tragic, miraculously and admirably uncertain throughout, whether it is tragedy or parody."-Corriere della Sera

Italy's leading daily newspaper called The Worst Intentions "a dangerous novel." Right from the title, wrote La Repubblica, this daring book "proclaims the furiously bellicose and iconoclastic spirit that drives it."

Daniel is the thirty-three-year-old heir to the dappled fortunes of the Sonninos, a wealthy Jewish-Italian family whose staggering rise and fall during the years spanning the end of World War II and the beginning of the twenty-first century provides the richly colored backdrop to this remarkable tragicomedy. Daniel has inherited his grandfather's extravagant passions and his father's servility, as well as the excesses of his social class. He is also the victim of a crippling infatuation with Gaia, fountainhead of his erotic fantasies and fetishes.

This novel will be justly compared to the works of Philip Roth and Saul Bellow. An audacious, sumptuous saga about ritual and liberty, love and war, sex and betrayal, set in the opulent neighborhoods of contemporary Rome.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   307
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.76 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2007
Publisher   Europa Editions
ISBN  1933372338  
ISBN13  9781933372334  

Availability  0 units.

More About Alessandro Piperno & Ann Goldstein

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Alessandro Piperno was born in Rome in 1972. He is a professor of French literature at Rome's Tor Vergata University. In 2000, he published his non-fiction book, Proust Anti-Jew, dividing his readers into staunch supporters and fierce detractors. His debut novel, The Worst Intentions, was an instant bestseller and won the Campiello Prize for first novels.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Worst Intentions?

outstanding first novel  May 29, 2008
This book authentically captures the atmosphere of a wealthy Jewish family in Rome after the war, struggling to come to terms with what it means to be Jewish. Piperno is an excellent writer who through telling details makes his story captivating and somehow universal.
"At a certain point, money must have lost all value to him ... just like people"  Jul 15, 2007
In the witty, lively fictional memoir, "The Worst Intentions" from Alessandro Piperno, thirty-three-year-old narrator, Daniel spends just over 300 pages describing the turbulent fortunes of the neurotic, eccentric Jewish-Italian Sonnino clan. Daniel, who is an adjunct professor at a university in Rome, has managed to write one book, but then spends seventeen years trying to finish a second. As a child, he's exposed to the fabulous wealth of friends and schoolmates, and by the time the reader gets to Daniel's adult admission that he sees himself as a failure, we also are supremely aware of the horrendous baggage of being a Sonnino. Daniel needs to stop hanging out with the rich, the glamorous, and the powerful, and then he'd have a shot at feeling 'normal.' In this odyssey of non-self discovery, Daniel is genetically, culturally and sociologically programmed to be strange, so it should come as no particular surprise to the reader that Daniel remains locked in a pubescent fantasy involving a nubile young girl from his adolescence.

The book begins with Daniel's description of his grandfather, Bepy, the charmingly insincere head of the Sonninos. Bepy and his wife, Ada survived WWII, and they emerged "literally infected with postwar joy" replacing "the terror of Mussolini and Adolf Hitler with a mimetic veneration of Clark Gable and Elizabeth Taylor." While Bepy and Ada survived, discussion of the many relatives claimed by the Holocaust remains taboo. Daniel argues, "the inferno had abolished prohibitions." Daniel interprets this as an alternate survival mechanism but also an explanation for the "sex mania" of his grandparents. Although Bepy is really just a "rag merchant," a figure in the textile industry, his lavish movie star lifestyle of "Napoleonic splendors" creates an aura of respect from awed, overwhelmed salesmen, and a business meeting with Bepy is the equivalent to an audience with the pope.

Addicted to the finer things in life, Bepy's an impeccable dresser, an incorrigible womanizer, and like all the Sonninos "allergic to inner life." Bepy is an indomitable, larger-than-life character who overshadows both of his sons, the albino, Luca (Daniel's father), and Teo who submerges himself in Zionism and escapes his father's clutches by emigrating to Israel. But Bepy is not the only peculiar relation in Daniel's family tree. His father Luca marries Italian (non-Jewish) Fiamma, an inflexible woman, devoted to her two sons and her mostly-absent husband. A "grim Richelieu," she controls her sons with guilt and suffocating expectations. Daniel grows up with the knowledge that he's not a Jew, and this leads to feelings of estrangement.

"The Worst Intentions" is well written, full of descriptions of Daniel's eccentric relatives, and their equally eccentric friends. From his one-testicled cousin, to the lure of his chocolate-addicted aunt's smelly feet, the characters leap off the page with shades of Woody Allen-style humor. By the novel's conclusion, I felt as though I'd met these people. And while, ultimately, they would be great fun to know (in a limited capacity), one cannot help but carry a certain sympathy for Daniel, the only wallflower in the bunch. The book smacks of a sequel, and let's hope Daniel reappears in the not-too-distant future--displacedhuman

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