twelve o’clock, 26 March 2021 – 09:35
Portrait of a generation still too young to row a boat
of Antonio Polito
How much is 60 to the third? A very high number: 216,000. Similarly, the book by Gabriele Bojano (The fabulous sixty, Linea edizioni), apparently the portrait of sixty people, functions as a powerhouse, achieving surprising results compared to the initial intent.
Since the sixty protagonists are all sixty, in the sense that they have just turned sixty. And they are all, consequently, born in the sixties, fabulous according to Gianni Min (for him he was twenty in the sixties, having been born in ’38, so it has nothing to do with us sixty years old, that we have lived the sixties since children, without even being able to reach the fateful ’68 with the age of majority, and in fact they did not seem so fabulous, more than anything else childishly happy, as only childhood allows us to be).
However, the fact is that our Gabriele Bojano got it right. The idea of telling himself, at such an important turning point as the birthday he has recently celebrated, but by telling others instead of himself, a small stroke of genius, as well as an exercise in (even here apparent) modesty, virtue always rare in a journalist. I have written apparent in parentheses because the narrative device found, which is certainly pleasing to the reader, does not prevent the author from writing an autobiography of his generation, only in a less redundant and lighter way than many other similar attempts.
To achieve this you need a pen and a head. Generation and cohort do not mean the same thing. The cohort is a set of people who experience the same event at the same time, for example birth. this, moreover, which brings in the gallery of sixty-year-olds in Bojano famous personalities, from Carol Alt to Rosario Fiorello, and more private characters, close to the author for different reasons than their notoriety, but often more expensive and precious, by Davide Amendola to Paolo Vuilleumier. But, unlike cohort, generation – and I quote here from a Manual of Sociology – not a concrete group whose members are united by reciprocal bonds; what characterizes a generation lies in the fact that those who belong to it have the same position in the historical-social space and are exposed to cultural influences of the same type. And in fact this is exactly the substance that Bojano investigates underneath. this is what unites such different characters and the so different ways in which they crossed his life. In telling it, Gabriele proceeds with the virtue of lightness, and with the maieutic method, simply letting his stories unravel. At the end of which the reader, even without noticing the intellectual fatigue to which he has been exposed, understands that he has read a single novel, and that set of human paintings appears to him for what it is: an art gallery, a collection, a whole.
I was saying that it takes a pen and a head. I had known for some time that Gabriele Bojano possessed both of them, having had the privilege of working with him in the same editorial office and being amazed every day by a culture that has never been exhibited, indeed handled with a certain degree of contempt. But I must admit that this literary proof surpasses, and by a lot, the other, albeit very numerous, so to speak professional testimonies of the author’s value. You will see, it will be a pleasure to read this book. How is the state for me.
March 26, 2021 | 09:35