- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (October 3, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312359179
- ISBN-13: 978-0312359171
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,478,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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My First Seven Years (Plus a Few More): A Memoir First Edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Fo, Italy's leading contemporary playwright, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997, is a radical dramatist best known for his political satire Accidental Death of an Anarchist (1970). In staging his provocative plays on such social and political issues as abortion, political corruption and organized crime, the controversial Fo was attacked and censored. In this memoir, he offers a lively, evocative narrative of his youth. Born in 1926, Fo grew up on the shores of Lake Maggiore in northern Italy, and he vividly recalls his childhood experiences, encountering jazz musicians, circus performers and, most importantly, storytellers. From his grandfather and locals, he learned the art of improvisatory storytelling: "Their language and tales made an indelible mark." In the concluding chapters he writes of WWII and gives an amusing but tense account of sneaking a trainload of British and South African prisoners disguised as women out of Italy and into Switzerland. Writing with verve, wit and an imaginative flair, Fo reveals the roots of his caustic satires, his commedia dell'arte style and his anarchistic attitudes. (Oct. 4)
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In spare comic vignettes translated from the Italian, the Nobel Prize-winning playwright chats about growing up in a mountain village during the 1930s and '40s and how those boyhood roots affected his storytelling and performance art. He hints at some exciting stuff, and readers will wish there was more about his family's work with the partisans in smuggling Jews and Allied prisoners across the border to Switzerland. But he is so concerned with avoiding the heroic that the narrative, full of ruminations about first love, becomes almost too laid-back in tone. Most interesting is the talk about his discovery of "underlying paradox," which became the basis for his writing. In a hilarious chapter, he shows how paradox works in the Ulysses saga ("it's clear that Ulysses never had the slightest intention of returning home. He was more than happy with his round of non-stop affairs"). Many of these vignettes, ripe with ironic fun, are perfect for reading aloud. Hazel Rochman
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