The first edition of the Orbetello Book Prize, which ended last night in the closed gardens of the municipality, was won by Antonio Pascale with the novel “The fig leaf”, published by Einaudi in the Supercoralli. The special mention of the jury chaired by Paolo Di Paolo, on the other hand, was attributed to “Lingua madre” (Italo Svevo) by Maddalena Fingerle. The Tuscan prize, conceived and organized by Andrea Zagami at the behest of the Department of Culture and Tourism, was conceived with the aim of dealing with the path abroad of contemporary Italian literature. And he wanted to pay homage to the writer David Leavitt, giving him a tribute to his career.
Finally out of the chorus, in 1986, with “The Lost Language of the Cranes” Leavitt stigmatized the hypocrisy of US society that hid authentic feelings under the carpet, preferring impulses and deviations, and everything that would be equated with a sensation, a a shiver on the epidermis. The novel in question anticipated by more than a decade “American beauty” (1999), the Oscar-winning film that spread a similar message in the Western box office, demonstrating how much guilt has remained a tool of mass coercion. And while admitting that he has not read Roth’s American Pastoral (1997) or Franzen’s The Corrections (2001), the author continues to consider middle-class American families as dysfunctional for the community.
In “Il décoro” (2020), the latest to be printed, he focused on the generation for which an unconscious and inconsistent aesthetic would have progressively torn apart any ethical precept. Leavitt identifies in the voters of Donald Trump the children of the economic boom, that is, those who live in the present the presumption of their own immortality, and rather to see the slightest change on the horizon, they are stuffed with anxiolytics.
Leavitt, today going out in front of your parents is no longer as impactful as it was in the Eighties. The times are no longer those of Philip and his identity crisis caused by the rejection of his father Owen. However, what difficulties remain for those who choose to accept themselves unreservedly?
“It depends on the culture of the country of origin, on the family of origin and on the friends crossed on the path. The gay environment is no longer a mystical fog as it was then: thanks to TV and social media, LGBT + people are more visible. Even the legalization of marriage between individuals of the same gender has legitimized partnerships that have been frowned upon for years. That said, the situation for a Russian or a Nigerian, for example, is much more difficult than that of an American or an Italian. Coming out is also an intensely personal experience, tied to the attitude and values of those who address it “.