Class, by Francesco Pacifico
“After chronicling the temptations and foibles of earnest young Catholics in The Story of My Purity, Francesco Pacifico turns his attention to Italy’s other major religion: ‘Cool.’ On the trail of Italian hipsters from Rome to Williamsburg, Class is both savage and tender, like Antonioni’s camera following Monica Vitti on her adventures, or—as the author might prefer—a vintage MTV rockumentary. A novel about the costs of ‘Americanization,’ in all senses, from Italy’s most Yankophilic and most intelligently Yankophobic novelist.”
—Marco Roth, author of The Scientists
Ludovica and Lorenzo live in Rome. She works in her family’s bookstore, and he’s a filmmaker—or, rather, a “filmmaker”: so far, all he’s produced is one pretentious short film that even his friends don’t take seriously. But somehow, he gets a scholarship to Columbia University, and the couple decide to head to New York—specifically, to Williamsburg: the promised land.
They soon fall in with a group of Italian expats—all of them with artistic ambitions and the family money to support those ambitions indefinitely. There’s Nicolino, the playboy; Marcello, the aspiring rapper; Sergio, the literary scout; and a handful of others. These languidly ambitious men and women will come together and fall apart, but can they escape their fates? Can anyone?
In Class, Francesco Pacifico gives a grand, subversive, formally ambitious social novel that bridges Italy and America, high and low, money and art. A novel that channels Virginia Woolf and Kanye West, Henry Miller and Lil’ Wayne, Class is an unforgettable, mordantly funny account of Italians chasing the American dream.
Praise for Class
“Class is a novel about rich kids who make movies, music, and art that respond to the microscopic cultural nuances of a closed system. It’s about what happens when progressivism is watching a documentary about poor people, and culture is collecting obscure consumer goods. It’s a satire of nepotism, and the mechanisms that coddle privileged young people into thinking they are living original lives. This novel clarified some things for me, about the difference between genius and vanity, and what’s worth paying attention to, and what it’s okay to despise. Francesco Pacifico’s characters are finely tuned algorithms: they can generate the perfect playlist, but they can’t sing any songs.”
—Emily Witt, author of Future Sex
Praise for The Story of My Purity
“Francesco Pacifico is a brilliantly funny and weirdly subversive writer. The Story of My Purity manages to be both absurd and sincere; it is impossible to resist Piero Rosini's precise narration of his struggle to be a saint as he endures so many earthly temptations. A joy to read.”
“Ho, ho, and ho! Insanely funny and terrifically offensive, Francesco Pacifico’s novel fell on my head like a bowling ball and knocked me the hell out. Among many other things, it’s a great updating of Roman life. American publishers don’t really translate from the Italiano anymore, so it’s great to see a worthy translation of what is sure to be a modern Italian classic.”
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