Fabio Genovesi ‘Live Bait’

I discovered Fabio Genovesi when his ‘Chi Manda les Ondes’ was long listed for the 2015 Strega prize, his previous book has recently been translated into English as ‘Live Bait’ helping me with my weak knowledge of contemporary Italian writers (few other nominees have translated works). image The style of the book is a young, dual narrator, high energy, present tense approach, this brings to my mind both ‘The Long Firm’ and ‘La Rue des Boutiques Obscures’. The story is set in the Tuscany that we as visitors never see, Muglione, a village off the beaten track, surrounded by smelly irrigation ditches. There are three main characters: Fiorenzo the 18 year old centre point, who despite serious setbacks (losing both his hand and his mother before the book really gets going) is a lively eternal optimist whose belief is in life it’s better to have lots of dreams because it works like bingo cards: the more you have, the better your chances of winning. Tiziana, who had left Muglione to study successfully in Munich and who has accepted a job back in this godforsaken village and is, in contrast to Fiorenzo, a self doubter but shares with him a spontaneous side. Mirko, the little champ a fourteen year old cycling phenomenon that could one day put Muglione on the map. This is a story full of secondary characters and local colour, I laughed out loud at some of the situations, Tiziana’s friend, Raffaella, in the chapter All Tigers Are Lesbians had me in stitches The ups and downs of life in a small village taking in the complicated relationships between the main characters gives here a true off beat comedy I was glad to read and am looking forward to the translation of ‘Chi Manda les Ondes’ I enjoyed this book

Live Bait: First published as Esche Vive by Mondadori in 2011
Translated into English by Michael F Moore and publish by Other Press in 2014
Translated into French by Dominique Vittoz as Appâts Vivants and published by Fayard in 2012

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