by Alberto Prunetti
Edizioni Alegre, 2014, 192 pages.
Amianto. Una storia operaia (Asbestos. A Working-Class Story) is written by Alberto Prunetti, an Italian writer who has published fiction and non-fiction since 2003. The book was originally published in 2012[i] and narrates the life of a factory worker, Renato Prunetti, the author’s father. Renato’s life is reconstructed from the 1960s when he started to work in his first factory, until his death, at 59, caused by an asbestos-related carcinoma in 2004. The second edition of the book integrates a debate (“Il Triello”) between the author Wu Ming 1 and the writer Girolamo De Michele, which further explores some themes of the main text. Wu Ming 1 is part of the writing collective Wu Ming, one of the major authorial voices in Italy today. De Michele, as the Wu Ming collective, has also worked both in fiction and non-fiction, and, as Prunetti, the two other participants also write in the online literary review Carmilla and come from working-class families and from environmentally problematic areas.
Amianto is a hybrid text. Matteo Giancotti, in a review of the book published in La Lettura, described Amianto as not a novel, nor reportage, nor a biography in its classic sense. By combining the salient aspects of the three genres, Prunetti writes a working-class story that, following the movements of the travelling factory worker Renato, retraces part of the history of the working class in Italy, from the 1970s to the end of the 1990s.
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