Who is Enrico Mattioli? 

Enrico Mattioli was born in an Italian city, the capital of that State, washed by a river, built on seven hills, of which he prefers not to make the name for privacy reasons.
Enrico Mattioli started his career as a humorist, but an experience as a basic union delegate made him passionate about issues related to working environments. Humour and social, therefore, live together in his books.
Moreover, thirty years of work as a sales employee of a large commercial group, were an incredible point of observation which allowed him to improve the profiles of his characters.

Dear Enrico, tell us more about you…

 

Was there a moment in your life in which you did a bit of soul searching and came out stronger than before?

I lost my father three years ago, after an illness and a very hard assistance. Often we make insurmountable some problems, but actually they are minor details compared to the fragility of existence. We can’t understand it in childhood, but surely the most difficult days in our lives are two, i.e. those in which, sooner or later, we’ll lose the people who have brought us into the world. The other days will be only daily minimum, nothing impossible to cope with. For this reason, I say: let us not give up.

What are the things you love most?

Reading and writing. Then, there are my books because, for an author, books are ribs. Obviously, there’s also this website. Last summer started the project of complete restructuring of my activity. A new web space and the insertion of an English version of the blog that you can find in the menu at the bottom of the page. And then, I had to delegate to good co-workers proofreading and editing of all editions of the books. In short, a huge effort.

In addition to this, I love sport. I also like it at an amateur level. When I have the possibility, I go to see football matches of the kids. I was a decent player up to about twenty-seven years old. Later I limited myself to attending gyms, but also kitchens.

Solitude is another necessity. In our system of life, I don’t find harmony, so this conflict pushes me to isolate myself. In recent years, yoga and meditation have entered my life, accompanying me on the most fascinating journey that human existence can offer: the knowledge of oneself.

Why do you write?

Often the need to tidy up confused thoughts leads you to writing, but creating a book is a process that has to do with constancy and skill. Since I was an adolescent I needed an art form which can allowed me to express myself. During the school years I played in a rock blues band and even if today I don’t know how to tune a guitar, the passion for music has remained the same. Blues has a pure and noble sound, like boxing.

In your writing, how important is the place you live in?

I was born and I live in Rome. I’m sorry that many Romans consider their city through the movie the Gladiator. The fact everything revolves around the Colosseum is a tourist and limiting vision. Rome is in the visions of Federico Fellini. It’s in the suburbs described by Pier Paolo Pasolini. It’s in the living rooms described by Ennio Flaiano, three non-Roman characters.

There’s institutional and political Rome. The one of the past fascist regime that expressed itself in the architecture of the Eur district, as well as the one of the Resistance and the prisons of Via Tasso. The Rome of the Risorgimento of the Gianicolo coexists with the Papal Rome of the Domes and the basilicas. There’s the Rome of the popular neighbourhoods and Rome of Upper Class neighbourhoods. The Rome of the Tiber and the Renaissance palaces of the centre. Compared to this richness, reduce the city to the glory of the most important monument is a foregone and pitiful synthesis.

In my small way, I tell the metropolis of the consular roads, of the suburbs which once were the suburbs, but during the economic boom they expanded thanks to the wild construction. Yes: a characteristic of this city is it grows in a natural way. The subway lines are a constant building site which tries to keep up with this swelling. Paraphrasing the film, I could say: : Rome, open building site (often abandoned).

Which books and authors have influenced you?

I’d talk about real conditioning, and not about influences… I think Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant and Le Ventre de Paris by Emile Zola. Two French writers, two different texts but both talking about work. Speaking of the French, I’d add Daniel Pennac. I find clever the character of Benjamin Malaussène, a scapegoat in a department store.

And then, American literature. Ask the Dust by John Fante. All books by Raymond Carver, the father of minimalism…a master. Among the youngest, Jay Mc Inerny, learner of Carver: “Bright Lights, Big City” his masterpiece. When it came out in bookstores, the second-person narration astonished everyone. I was also impressed when I read for the first time Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto.

And Italians?

Definitely Pasolini. And Luciano Bianciardi. I can’t forget Fallaci, a strong and incisive writer. I like the idea behind “The Baron In The Trees” of Calvino. Also the concepts of Pirandello and the stuff of Verga have also influenced my works.

However, I began to imitate the style of Domenico Starnone after reading Ex cathedra. In high school, he was a teacher of a junior high school classmate. He suggested me to write a letter to him when he collaborated with Il Manifesto newspaper, sending the very first draft (Italian version) of Dear customer. Although I was a beginner, Starnone answered me. He was kind and helpful. I have a nice memory.

 

You didn’t mention Charles Bukowski…

Yes… my passion for Uncle Buk. I didn’t mention him because I wasn’t too original in my list. What can I say? I love his creativity. On social media, everyone cites his aphorisms, but I think that some of them haven’t even read a book by Bukowski. It’s a shame. Mister Chinaski is more than a list of sentences, perhaps extrapolated from a different context.

What do you read today?

I read texts about yoga and meditation, as well as stories by beginners or unknown authors. The sea of publications is rich in quantity, you can find everything…but quality isn’t so rare. The problem of writers is to find an audience: this is the real problem.

Targets?

When I was a boy and school finished, began a period of carelessness and hooplas. Endless days of games and jokes, for the next four months. Until the return to the study. It was youth. When you start working, you lose all this. Enter the season of maturity and unfortunately you stay there. My target is to recover the levity of adolescence, the period in which you really let the problems fall. And then, inner peace, because without a tranquillity which is born in the intimate, you can’t make a significant.


Read

SUPERCASHIERS

A HUMOR SERIES ON SUPERMARKET OPERATORS

 

 


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