Marco Balzano is a master of soft sounds, the objective logging. The disillusioning fate of his protagonists unfolds its power from itself and leaves no one untouched. By bridging the gap to the immigrants of our days, it relieves the author of his past specifies the general experiences open, had to probably make the people at all times.
Ninetto Giacalone born in 1950 as a premature baby in the Sicilian town of San Cono. Until he spent nine years old, his childhood runs happily – in the context of modest social conditions.
Arms starvelings are all here in the deep south, where an anchovy is the only taste enrich their daily bread same. “So be it,” no one knows more to say about it. At school the lanky Ninetto ( “little Nino”) will soon have his nickname away. “Pelleossa”, “Hautundknochen” and he accompanied him throughout his life
Ninetto likes to go to school , The lectures of his teacher Vincenzo lasting impression on him. There are far simple interpretations of, strange world, where for example, once a man named “Schanschak Russo” lived by profession “Thinker” – whatever he may have there day in, day out work.
He knew in any case that at some point a part of nature, which until then had all used einzäunte, and said, “This is mine.” He invented the “private property”, and since then there are rich and poor, landowner and have-nots. Even Signor Tommaso Campanella must have been a strong person four hundred years ago, because he was only the son of a shoemaker, was never able to go to school, anyway, “never the courage” lost and later became a poet.
From such examples draws Ninetto confidence and hope that he could be poets, thinkers or village schoolmaster.
But the reality makes him a spanner in the works. In October 1959, the stroke of the mother abruptly ended his childhood. For the luxury of going to school, is no more room, now he has with the Father as day laborers toiling in the fields of the landowner. The chores and the care of Mama takes her sister, the “hunchbacked aleck” Aunt Filomena. Father is less and less at home, gets drunk in the pub, gambles at cards, beat up his son. rear and front the money is not enough.
Perhaps waiting so far away, a way out of the misery. When the clumsy Guivà while like all other raves on the farm of Don Alfio for nothing and again nothing hacks based in Milan, it sounds as if talking of paradise: the rich “city of lights” with their “thousands of factories “offers work in abundance, he claims. And so the skinny runt end of 1959 boards a train that will take him to an uncertain future in the unknown north of the country. Will he find there all alone happiness of his life?
Ninetto was not the only one who took the perilous adventure. If the money was not enough for the departure of the family from the poorest regions of southern Italy in the booming industrial triangle of Turin-Milan-Genoa, many boys (and girls) to a maximum of thirteen years were sent there alone. Some came first with relatives, others were left to fend as Ninetto on their own to keep up with odd jobs somehow afloat. From initial naive enthusiasm disillusionment and hopelessness quickly. When unqualified, weak and helpless, at least in the first period Billigstkräfte the children were exploited and had a miserable existence periods – loser in a strange world with no family ties. The big prize went, who was able to get a permanent job in a factory. That, however, had only fifteen years old.
Ninetto, the narrator, with not even sixty years and mentally broken, looks back, remembers many things in his life, speaks without structuring, as it just comes to his mind, and draws a depressing summary. Although he was lucky – he could conquer a steady job and marry the age of fifteen with little reward for his great love Maddalena, they had a daughter, and in the 32 years he worked at Alfa Romeo, he has trained himself and one high school acquired. Nevertheless Ninetto is disappointed that he has taken from life, this gift from God. He has wasted it with monotonous work, a “same old” life.
And then there’s the event that cuts the Ninettos existence in a “before” and “after”. He once directed his knife against a man who – had come dangerously close to a woman – from his perspective. Ninetto be appreciated confesses his crime, notes the ruling – ten years in prison – on. But the prison is a long period of inner emptiness and standstill, while outside life goes on and does not wait for him. When he gets free again, a deep “gap between me and the world” opens up. All former acquaintances have moved away, Maddalena only tolerate him, her daughter wants no contact. She is now married and has even a five year old daughter who will never know their grandfather.
However, the desire to see his little granddaughter is to exchange a few words with her, the only thing that old the keeps man alive. From a distance he watched the house where the daughter lives with her family, and is hoping for a chance encounter.
Otherwise, he spends his days lonely on the bench of a Buswartehäuschens. Here he reads (significantly Albert Camus’ novel “The Stranger”), observed and overheard the bus driver, the traffic warden, the barman who work below his eyes. He makes friends with Mustafa, the street vendors, and the Indian Amish. The two young Chinese who have taken over the bar Aurora, greet him with a beaming face and childish voice: “Good Molgen, nineto!” He sees how hard most migrants from distant cultures work here as they are exploited as cheap labor as alien feel to this part of the planet, and sees this as a piece of his own career.