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Mario Desiati's Spatriati Announced The Best Italian Novel 2022

Last week the most prestigious literary award in Italy has announced the best book of the year. 537 voters in the second round (equal to appr. 81,4% of those with the voting right) have chosen Mario Desiati's Spatriati for the Premio Strega 2022.

The novel has already led the voting in the first round. Desiati has been always able to remain faithful to his world with surprising obstinacy. Spatriati is his best book, the flower of maturity, the one in which themes, atmospheres and style reach an enchanting harmony. There is something at the same time magical and sinister in a place in Puglia where the characters of Desiati are born, live and suffer, almost all of them from the rural petty bourgeoisie. They reveal a restlessness made up of romantic impulses and sexual appetites, a complicated love for their homeland and an equally complex desire to escape to violent and inhospitable metropolises. So then who are those spatriates? Actually, we all are.

Desiati's prose is a crossroads of deliberately antithetical registers: lyricism and causticity, sentimentality and ferocity. To obtain these effects, the writer mixes literary refinement and colloquial inflections with an ever more solid hand. It should be emphasized that this linguistic mix allows Desiati to write extraordinarily plausible sex scenes, and therefore persuasive and never ridiculous.

Last year the Premio Strega was handed to Emanuele Trevi's Due Vite.


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