Milan, a foggy morning, the walk of a journalist towards the editorial office, a newspaper still to be written and a sudden and mysterious murder. Enrico Vanzina, journalist and writer devoted to cinema and television, temporarily leaves his Rome to “take home” in the Lombard capital. In the shadow of the Cathedral it sets A foggy day in Milan (ed. HarperCollins), his new novel.
Vanzina, why Milan?
«The idea was that of a thriller that the reader could drink in one breath, set in the authentic Milan of the fog, that of Jannacci, Gaber and Bianciardi. A Milan that is now trying to forget, hidden under a blanket of emptiness in which the protagonist, Restelli, makes no secret of not feeling welcomed or represented. Journalist of the pages of culture, raised among intellectuals, Restelli is a “young old” to Holden Caulfield, of which he maintains frankness and a sense of inadequacy and who realizes, at the murder of his father, that he does not know his family at all ».
The text unfolds between literature and …
“There is an investigation into old age and its implications of the body and mind, of the unspoken at the basis of a family. Restelli does not know that his father, an esteemed piano teacher, feels fear at the idea of growing old, who lives a platonic and poignant love story cultivated only by looks. I wanted to write a literary game in which, instead of the police, literature was to carry out the investigation. A “story within a novel”. It will be Finnekens, in many ways the true protagonist of the book, to lead it, and to bequeath to Restelli the story in which he imagines and describes the dynamics of the crime ».
For Finnekens “writing is stealing people’s sleep”.
«It is, in a double meaning: the writer insinuates himself into sleep, that is the hidden and suspended part of each of us; but he also has the subtle and vain pleasure of knowing that someone is awake at night reading his books. And Finnekens is an authentic writer. To outline it, I was inspired by Andrea Pinketts, a Milanese crime writer and journalist ».
Is Finnekens the symbol of the fantasy that takes its revenge on logic?
“The real theme is precisely this: what we see is more true, or what masters of literature such as Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Manzoni, Hugo have seen; giants to which we all owe for the beauty of the stories they have bequeathed to us? Literature serves to provide interpretation keys to access the feelings of others, it allows us to come into contact with rooms that we would otherwise not be able to access, to observe life from always different perspectives. Aspects to which pure rationality is blind ».
Your favorite crime writers?
“Definitely Chandler and Ellroy, who revolutionized the traditional form of yellow and its structural codes of crime, investigation and solution. Chandler did it with his Los Angeles of the thirties, beginning to tell cross-sections of the real society, in which the crime becomes almost less important than its setting; and later Ellroy did it, with her critical look at a postmodern and anguished America of the sixties ».
A task of literature as much as of cinema?
“Under the dress, nothing was a portrait of the ephemeral that has become meaning, fashion as a lens on the reality of the Eighties. My father (Stefano Vanzina aka Steno; ed) ironically demanded that my brother and I study a lot, but at the same time lightly: this allowed me to observe the people around me, drawing suggestions and images from them; following them, capturing their attitudes and time in which they move, until they have an almost infinite palette of characters to draw from. Writing allows you to vivisect with a very personal microscope, providing reading keys but leaving the reader free to imagine and exercise a critical spirit ». –
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