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La Bella Figura
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About the Author

beppe severgnini is a columnist for Italy's largest circulation daily newspaper Corriere della Sera and covered Italy for The Economist from 1993 to 2003. He is the author of the international bestseller Ciao, America! He lives with his family in Crema, on the outskirts of Milan.

Reviews

You've read Under the Tuscan Sun, now read an insider's account of Italy. Corriere della Sera columnist Severgnini has authored numerous best sellers, including Ciao, America! Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

SevergniniItalian newspaper columnist and author of the pesce-out-of-water memoir Ciao, America!must have wanted to emulate Luigi Barzini, author of the 1960s classic The Italians, in this somewhat tepid sociological look at his countrymen. Severgnini writes pleasantly enough (and Giles Watson's translation is smooth, for the most part), but his observations are anything but sharp. He organizes this overview as a kind of geographical "tour," with a chapter about car sex in Naples and another on the Italian countryside in Tuscany. Sweeping statements, such as "Italians have the same relationship with food that some Amazonian people have with the clouds in the skyone glance and we know what to expect," abound, and they have the ring of truth, but they're rarely backed up by supporting anecdotes. In today's shrunken world, jokes about how Italians love to see half-naked women on television ("The new Italian icon is the Semi-Undressed Signorina") and abuse their cellphone privileges simply aren't new. The collection ends with the hoariest of devices: a letter from an imaginary American friend who has taken Severgnini's tour and reminisces about the beautiful "girls" in a Milan disco. Barzini, too, often wrote in generalities, but he had the advantage of coming first. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Praise for Beppe Severgnini La Bella Figura "Don't read this book--unless you have the courage to let Dottore Severgnini carve up your well-worn stereotypes about Italy. La Bella Figura proves that twenty-first-century Italians are more complicated than we thought. Sort of like Europeans. And Beppe loves them all." --Howard Tomb, author of Wicked Italian "The book on perplexing Italians . . . Severgnini's most systematic probe of the Italian psyche yet . . . A keen observer of human nature, [he watches] his compatriots with amused insight . . . Laugh-out-loud funny." --International Herald Tribune

Ciao, America! "A Bella Laugh . . . This wonderfully funny and perceptive book . . . now finds its way to the country that inspired it. What a pity it took so long to get here, but what a joy that it is here at last. Ciao, America! is fun from first page to last, pure and simple." --The Washington Post

"It's not easy to walk the thin line between Tocqueville's Democracy in America and Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need, but this memoir manages to do so admirably." --Booklist

"Severgnini is a master . . . Ciao, America! is a sardonic tale of cultural bewilderment, an incisive peek into the mundane obsession of our American existence that makes the commonplace seem not only insane but extremely funny." --Publishers Weekly

"A delightful read, full of wonderful anecdotes that capture the eye-opening absurdity of life in these United States." --Chicago Tribune "It would be difficult not to like this delightful book." --Library Journal

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