The death of the Italian novelist Antonio Pennacchi

First a worker, then a writer. Antonio Pennacchi always proudly recalled his proletarian origins, an inescapable foundation of his human and cultural identity. The Italian novelist, who died on August 3 in Latina, near Rome, at the age of 71, as his publisher Mondadori confirmed to the Italian press, never denied his attachment to popular culture, even when , in 2010, Mussolini Canal (Liana Levi, 2012) was crowned with the Strega Prize, the most prestigious of Italian literary prizes. Suddenly finding himself at the center of the literary scene, hailed as a major writer of his time, did not prevent him from continuing to consider himself first and foremost as an autodidact.

Born January 26, 1950, in Latina, Pennacchi worked for thirty years in a cable factory, where he participated in all the struggles that shook the working class during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1986, during a period of unemployment technically, he embarked on the writing of his first novel, Mammoth (Liana Levi, 2013), largely inspired by her experience of the factory, a universe which, at the time, had only very rarely been approached by Italian writers. The manuscript, whose writing was for him a real initiation journey, suffered countless refusals from publishers, before being finally published in 1994 by Donzelli, a small Roman publishing house. This remarkable story, in which the author expresses his pride as a worker in a colorful writing, will be the first of a dozen novels which, little by little, will establish him as one of the most original voices of Italian literature of recent decades.

The ideological mistakes of his youth

After two more books on the working world, Antonio Pennacchi published, in 2003, My brother is an only child (Le Dilettante, 2007), in which he traces the ideological mistakes of his youth, in the midst of a seething decade of political confrontation – the original version bore the title The Communist Fascio (“The Fascist-Communist”). First entered the seminary and then in the ranks of the neofascist Italian Social Movement, which he had joined in opposition to his left-wing family background, he ended up activating within a small Maoist group, in a whirlwind of adventures. family, political and sentimental. From this picaresque novel, characterized by an overflowing vitality and a tasty language, the director Daniele Luchetti made in 2006 a very beautiful film, which was a great success, contributing to the fame of Antonio Pennacchi.

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