Walk walk, Emanuele Trevi won the 75ª edition of the Strega. For his triumphal march he did not use the boots of the Seven Leagues, but the yellow-blue sneakers of Lidl. The detail sparked a great social uproar: “He didn’t just want to participate in the Strega Prize, he wanted to win it by showing up with those shoes,” wrote an admirer on Twitter. And another: “I go crazy, great, with those shoes you get the style award”.
“I’m not on Facebook and I don’t have Twitter but I understand the enthusiasm. These shoes are a symbol for me. They have an important consumer significance. I am not like Theodor Adorno or Franco Fortini who argued that in mass society fictitious goods appear as real goods », observes Trevi tired but satisfied by the celebrations. «These sneakers are like the pink Gronchi: everyone wants them and there aren’t enough. I felt a positive energy in them, I wore them and they guided me to victory ».
Shoes aside, the 57-year-old Roman writer, who won 187 preferences with Two lives (Neri Pozza), he seduced with the literary quality of the story. In the novel, fragments of memory and the search for new realities are intertwined: Emanuele appears in the novel in the first person together with his friends, protagonists of the book, Rocco Carbone and Pia Pera, writers who died prematurely. It is the burnt youth of the 90s, behind whose flat calm rebellion hid. Between an arthouse cinema, a premiere of Carmelo Bene and a quote from a semiology text, the three novelists are beautiful and damned, they share the Roman evenings that take place between drug parties, great drinks and motorbike races.
Son of the famous Jungian psychoanalyst Mario, Trevi is a writer with an unusual, solitary and worldly temperament. Laura Betti, in the book that Emanuele dedicated to her, called Trevi “zoccoletta” and “paraculo”, always against the tide, an explorer of unknown worlds. What attracted the audience of the Strega? «Rocco, Pia and I were kids of the twentieth century. We loved Samuel Beckett and Sylvia Plath but also Milan Kundera and Raymond Carver. The language we liked was that of A.lberto Savinio in pure 30-40s style. Punk music and the universe of drugs were fundamental, excluding cocaine, which was rarely used at the time. This adventure was not part of the life of Rocco and Pia but filled the existence of all those who, like me, wanted to know different worlds. In my case, curiosity has never had that negative meaning it has, for example, for Martin Heidegger who teaches us that it distracts the individual from contemplation. On the contrary, I have encountered, again to quote Heidegger, “the world and others moved by the desire to see new things”. We children of the 90s were certainly not addicts but, driven by the solicitation that the philosopher dubbed as inauthentic, we were led to consider the night our kingdom ».
In the work of the writer, texts that are a cross between non-fiction and fiction are the first to see the light (Distant Music: Meditations on Virtues; Without verse. A summer in Rome; Something written. The almost real life of an encounter with Pier Paolo Pasolini) and stand, as the title of another Trevi book suggests, as a sort of Initiatic journey. The novels finalists to the Strega, on the contrary, have the family as their central theme. Was it this diversity that made readers’ hearts beat faster? “Two lives it is a hymn to friendship. The generation of authors that preceded mine had the cult of ideologies. Amitav Ghosh wonders why writers are not interested in global warming. I feel involved in personal relationships and the sense of time passing. It is usually said “friends are your family until you make your family”. This is a death sentence for me, I don’t like sharing the problems of everyday life with another person. I hate monogamous loves. I am for a libertine culture in which the relationships between men and women are conceived as a huge game ».
Speaking of women, Einaudi Stile Libero re-proposes one of his books from 2003, The dogs of nothingness. A true story, where we speak of Gina, “the remains of a municipal kennel” in which “emotionality and cunning seem to embody the very essence of femininity”. A somewhat reductive image of the opposite sex, don’t you think? “Oh my God, it was a sentence written at the beginning of the new millennio. But enough! Anglo-Saxon models are fatal. I hope to die before the whole world is dominated by political correctness. Protestant culture is dominated by must and puritanism. The Catholic one is more unpredictable and playful. I don’t want slave women like in some segments of the Islamic world, I want chivalry and infantilism with them ».
What do you think of the Zan Ddl? «Alessandro Zan, the deputy and LGBT activist who proposed it, is a very serious and competent person. But it would be a disaster if the aesthetic activity were left to the discretion of a judge. I’ll give you an example. I want to write in a book of mine: “Mr. Smith wondered where that nigga shit had gone.” A culture that forbids Snow White’s kiss because it was “stolen” might have the desire to cross out this sentence or I might self-censor myself. A writer is a perverse child and freedom is the most beautiful legacy of the Enlightenment ».
Lo Strega, claims Sandro Veronesi who repeated the Capitoline prize, improves life. Does Trevi believe so too? “No. For what is made of me is ashes. It is behind. I just look forward and now I worry about the next book I have to write and the article that awaits me. Maybe I don’t know how to enjoy life “. —
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