Italy: What does it mean to be Italian? (Book-from-every-country #40)


The Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio was written by an Algerian immigrant to Italy, Amara Lakhous. So should it count as a book for Algeria or a book for Italy? Well, the back cover of the book quotes an Italian reviewer saying, “This is the first time that a writer born outside of Italy has created a text that can be considered thoroughly Italian.” But then after I finished the book that I learned that it was actually originally published in Arabic. Lakhous then rewrote it in Italian, apparently modifying the text to incorporate dialects from different parts of Italy* and adding more references to football (soccer)!

Obviously I’m categorizing this book as Italian. And, really, it’s pretty clear that that’s the right category for it. But it’s interesting to question whether this book “counts” as Italian since the question of what it means for a…

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