TITLE: Love at the time of design
AUTHOR: Stelio Zaganelli
If you remove a diamond from a perfect building, everything seems to crumble …
On the cover stands out this perfect diamond and, while I was reading, I wondered what was the reason why a diamond is on the cover of a book, mostly set in Perugia. Then, continuing to read, everything appeared perfectly clear to me. Not only because the action moves to Ferrara and it is mentioned the legend linked to “Palazzo dei Diamanti”, but because the diamond also represents the precious uniqueness of each member of a group. Inside this group, if an element is removed, it produces a terrible explosion that inevitably leads to the fall down of the unit. From that moment on, everyone alone, has to choose his own path to become an adult.
The stories of Santo, Babila, Elettra, Mirro and Sandrino, if on one hand bring us to think of what it is the most fascinating film about adolescence – Stand by me: memories of a summer, from the famous novel of Stephen King – on the other hand, they make us enjoy the memories of a Perugia where life was marked by different rhythms. The city center was not only for tourists, but it was a lively place, the beating heart of the city. A downtown perhaps more run – down than today, but full of real life.
Love at the time of design is a charming book that tells not only a love story, the story between Santo and Babila, which, as a common thread, accompanies us from the very first page to the last one. At the same time it takes us back to a difficult period of the Italian history. These events make everything very real, without weighing down a story that is so captivating, thanks to the capacity of the author to influence the events that disturb him, through the force of his mind.
Like every book, this one too is partly autobiographical, in fact Stelio Zaganelli remembers all the cities dear to him: Perugia where he has always lived, Ferrara where he was born, Florence where he obtained his degree as an architect and Milan which he often visited both for work and for pleasure. When he talks about the escalators and the restaurants of the city center of Perugia, it is inevitable of thinking of a tribute to his grandfather, of whom, Stelio brings the name. He was mayor of Perugia from 1977 to 1980.
Certainly also in the characters, so alive and authentic, there probably be the memories of people met by the author. The fact of choosening special names – which appear a little curious, in the vivid narrative of a time that seems so distant to many of us – helps to hide real identifications and to remain in the field of pure fantasy.
Of course, at the end of the reading, an entire generation of inhabitants of Perugia will carefully put this book on a shelf, but it surely remain in their heart and mind, because of the personal history, recognized in it.