Monday, August 18, 2008

La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

I was rereading this book last week, and it truly made me laugh (again). There are a lot of people out there who got annoyed by Severgnini's sarcasm, or at least that's how they would describe the results of his sense of humor. As a matter of fact, I am impressed by his ability to describe in a funny, still quite truthful manner characteristics of his own culture. His main achievement actually resides in that fact that he makes people from other cultures laugh which reveals his skill as a writer but mostly his high cultural sensitivity (unlike what his non-fans would say). And it is an incredible skill to be able to understand the thinking of "the other" to the extend that you can use their sense of humor and describe (even classify the phenomena of ) your native culture. Bravo, Severgnini! Thank you for this rare example of crossing borders and looking back through a foreign prism. It is done gracefully, with taste and sensitivity too.

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