Sentimental economy

Edoardo Nesi, 1964-

Book - 2022

"From the Strega Prize-winning author of Story of My People, an astute, multifaceted essay on the seismic shifts of 2020 and how he and people from all walks of life are adapting. Attempting to make sense of the incredible upheaval of 2020-from the devastating impact of COVID-19 to the sudden loss of his father-Edoardo Nesi considers the changing global economy and its effect on our lives. He shares the stories of Alberto Magelli, a small textile entrepreneur; Livia Firth, a prominent advoc...ate for sustainability; Elisa Martelli, a young Sangiovese winemaker; Enrico Giovannini, a leading economist and statistician; Rino Pratesi, a proud butcher from the heart of Tuscany; and more. From the overworked to the unemployed, we're all grappling with difficult questions about our current disorienting world: Will we ever feel healthy again, and what will it take to regain "normality?" What does progress mean today? Have science and technology let us down? What will the increased prevalence of remote working mean for our cities, and for our lifestyles generally? Deftly weaving together the personal and the economic, Nesi takes us on a fascinating journey to understanding"--

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New York : Other Press [2022]
Physical Description
216 pages ; 20 cm
Main Author
Edoardo Nesi, 1964- (author)
Other Authors
Antony Shugaar (translator)
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Italian novelist Nesi (Story of My People) examines in this bittersweet book-length essay the collapse of the 20th-century dream of economic prosperity from inside the early Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns made countries and citizens reconsider what's economically "necessary," Nesi writes, and rather than weighing such economic questions as "just numbers, empty percentages," he sees them as "paintings that depict both the country and us." He finds both fable and warning in the example of fashion. An industry that once produced reliable textiles and made Italy glamorous (and which his family and the author has worked in) has given way to "fast-fashion glad rags" produced in sweatshops as small European factories--like his own, once his father's--shut down: "I'm the son and heir to a ruinous collapse," he writes. As he critiques the notion of relentless progress, Nesi identifies his nostalgia as being really for "that savage spirit of innovation" in a time when "an immense future of boundless potential" seemed possible, as in The Jetsons and the 1939 World's Fair. Nesi's perfectly weighted, winding sentences are moving, and his unique perspective--informed by conversations with Italian luminaries as well as trips to Florence or the beach--add beauty to the melancholic tone. This elegy for a vanished future captivates. (Aug.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Kirkus Book Review

A beautiful and heartbreaking account of how the author--and the world--navigated the early part of the pandemic. At just over two years into this yet-to-end global pandemic, it's sensible to question if books tackling the experience are a "too soon" item. Nesi, who won the Strega Prize for Story of My People, gracefully handles that exact challenge in this lush work, translated from Italian. Ranging from economics to love and countless stops in between, the author filters his discussions through the lens of what unfolded during 2020 and how it affected business, politics, the arts, and global health. "What types of work, after all, are now to be considered unnecessary, not crucial, and dispensable," asks Nesi, "if the work in question allows a people to survive?" The author generously synthesizes his personal experiences, taking readers with him as he chronicles his visits to places such as markets and town squares, places of business, and the beach, where he went to rest. Through it all, he laments the changes brought about by unpredictable viruses, giving readers permission to mourn the world that was and reflect on the time when we moved freely, indulged and enjoyed life, and socialized with little understanding of its fragility. ‌Nesi is in a unique position to examine the material things that consumers value in a world that has shuttered. In the new normal, Tuscany, where the author lives, cannot fully stem the worry and constant sense of doom and uncertainty--a situation faced by people across the world. Despite repeated references to the idea that nothing new has come about since the 1970s and that we are instead moving within a "maximum possible point of development," Nesi sprinkles hope throughout the book. It's not easy to stitch economics and emotions together on the page, but the author accomplishes it with aplomb. Haunting and lovely: Readers will eagerly join Nesi in his remembrances. (N/A) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.