(p. B4) The Italy that Mr. Severgnini describes seethes with frustration. Government works poorly. The legal system barely functions. Too many Italians are crowded into too little space. Fear of failure stymies innovation. Mr. Severgnini is dismayed at the national genius for enjoyment and the Italian inability to plan for the future. “Our sun is setting in installments,” he writes. “It’s festive and flamboyant, but it’s still a sunset.”
Book under review:
Severgnini, Beppe. La Bella Figura; a Field Guide to the Italian Mind. Translated by Giles Watson. pb ed. New York: Broadway Books, 2006.