L’amore mi perseguita

Federica BoscoDescribed as “l’autrice italiana più amata dalle italiane (the most loved Italian author by Italian women),” Federica Bosco (b. 1971, Milano) writes contemporary romance, comical self-help books and screenplays. Although her 2012 book Pazze di me (Women are Crazy About Me) (Mondadori) came out in theaters earlier this year, Bosco is most well-known for her “Monica” trilogy: Mi piaci da morire (I Love You to Death) (Newton Compton, 2005); L’amore non fa per me (Love Isn’t for Me) (Newton Compton, 2006); and, L’amore mi perseguita (Love Persecutes Me) (Newton Compton, 2008).

In L’amore mi perseguita, thirty-one-year-old Monica is on her way back to New York City after a failed love affair with Edgar and a disastrous attempt to rekindle a romance with her old flame David. Her objective: to forget about men and focus her energy on writing a career-making article for Vanity Fair. But when she gets to the New York, nothing goes as planned. Not even her friends and colleagues are as she remembers them. To make matters worse, a shocking surprise awaits Monica—one that will change her life forever.

The language of L’amore mi perseguita is more or less what you’d expect from contemporary romance (also known as chick lit). Bosco writes in neostandard Italian, which is common, everyday language full of slang, Anglicisms, colorful expressions, and frasi di circostanza (phrases of circumstance), or, as we Americans say in French, clichés. The result is a refreshingly direct, modern-day language that makes for a fun read. Below are some of the interesting, hilarious and sometimes puzzling terms from the novel.

water (Eng. toilet)
L’incongruenza: il paese civile dove ti rimborsano in contanti, forniscono il riscaldamento gratuito, dispongono di aree per i cani e per i non fumatori e hanno inventato Starbucks, vacilla su un articolo di fondamentale utilizzo quotidiano come il water?
(The inconsistency: the civilized country where they refund your money in cash, provide free heating, set out public spaces for dogs and non smokers and invented Starbucks, vacillates on an article of essential daily use like the toilet?)

phon (Eng. hairdryer)
Tutto mi ricorda di Edgar: ogni libro, maglione, profumo (soprattutto il phon e i calzini!).
(Everything reminds me of Edgar: every book, sweater, scent [especially the hairdryer and socks!]).

attaccare bottone (Eng. literally to attach button but used to mean to buttonhole someone)
Ci sono donne incinte con altri bambini in braccio, un tizio che parla da solo con gli occhi socchiusi, una signora vecchissima che attacca bottone con tutti e mostra le foto dei sui figli in divisa militare.
(There are pregnant women with other babies in their arms, a guy who’s talking to himself with his eyes half open, an extremely old woman who’s buttonholing everyone and showing pictures of her sons in military uniform.)

essere in brodo di giuggiole (Eng. literally to be in jujube broth but used to mean to be in rapture)
“Oooohhhh, guarda, mi ha fatto un sorriso!”, sono in brodo di giuggiole.
(“Oooohhhh, look, he smiled at me!,” I’m in rapture.)

guarderò televisione spazzatura (Eng. I will watch trash television)
Ho deciso che mi merito un pieno di dolci al gusto “diabete al tipo B” e sangria, andrò a farne incetta, dopodiché tornerò e guarderò televisione spazzatura per tutta la notte, piangerò un po’ e domani con due aspirine e un impacco di ghiaccio sugli occhi affronterò il mio temuto primo giorni di lavoro.
(I’ve decided that I’ve earned a pig-out session on “diabetes type B”–flavored sweets and sangria. I’ll go load up on them, after which I’ll return and watch trash television for the whole night, cry a bit, and tomorrow with two aspirin and an ice pack on my eyes I’ll face my feared first day of work.)

fare outing (Eng. to come out [of the closet])
Guarda, Monica, è stata dura accettarlo e durissima fare outing, ma Chris mi ha aiutato tantissimo e con grande delicatezza mi ha fatto capire quale fosse la mia vera natura e adesso, non puoi immaginare come mi senta.
(Look, Monica, it’s been hard to accept it and really hard to come out, but Chris has helped me so much, and he very delicately made me see my true nature, and now you can’t imagine how I feel.)

naziskin (Eng. skinhead)
“Ah già, cominciavi oggi,” è l’accoglienza che mi riserva il ciccione dell’altro giorno, una specie di naziskin pentito con una maglietta degli Aerosmiths con le date della tournée del ’98.
(“Oh yeah, you’re starting today,” is the welcome I get from the fat guy from the other day—a kind of repentant skinhead with an Aerosmith t-shirt with the dates of the ’98 tour.)

ex rocchettari rintronati (Eng. burned out ex rockers)
Non so come la prenderà quando si renderà conto che il suo bar per ex rocchettari rintronati sta diventando un trendy bar super salutista, in pieno stile newyorchese.
(I don’t know how he’ll take it when he realizes that his bar for burned out ex rockers is becoming a trendy, super healthy bar in full New York style.)

schiappa (Eng. dunce)
Sempre stata una schiappa in geographia.
(Always been a dunce in geography.)

cretina (Eng. fool)
Non penso ad altro che a quello stronzo di Edgar, a quanto mi ha presa per i fondelli, a come ha fatto presto a rifarsi una vita, alle bugie, alla sua superficialità e a quanto sono stata cretina a credergli.
(I can’t think of anything but that asshole Edgar, how much he took advantage of me, how quickly he made a new life for himself, the lies, his superficiality, and what a fool I’d been to believe him.)

talmente stronzo (Eng. literally so asshole, meaning such an asshole)
“Ormoni un cazzo, Bob,” sbotto, “non darmi della psicolabile, non sai cos’ha fatto lui a me e a chissà quante altre donne, ma è talmente stronzo dentro che il suo atteggiamento non cambierà neanche nei confronti degli uomini,” poi rivolta a David, “tu eri uno stronzo da etero e resterai stronzo anche da gay!”
(“Hormones my ass, Bob,” I shout. “Don’t make me out to be a psycho, you don’t know what he did to me and to who knows how many other women. But he’s such an asshole inside that his attitude won’t change, not even with men.” Then turned to David, I said, “You were an asshole as a heterosexual, and you’ll stay an asshole as a gay man too!”)

che cazzo ti viene in mente (Eng. literally what fuck comes in mind to you, meaning what the fuck were you thinking)
Tyler, che cazzo ti viene in mente, stavo per morire di paura!
(Tyler, what the fuck were you thinking, you almost scared me to death!)

Concluding Remarks: Contemporary romance, and in particular chick lit often gets a bad rap for being “low brow,” escapist reading. It’s worth noting, however, that L’amore mi perseguita, like all books in these genres, explores themes and issues that are central to all women’s lives, whether they live in Italy, the U.S. or Timbuktu. And Bosco has done a superb job of representing the struggles that women face in their careers and in their relationships with their families, friends, the opposite sex and, most importantly, themselves.

In Translation: L’amore mi perseguita has been translated into ten languages, but unfortunately English isn’t one of them. Publishers haven’t taken an interest in contemporary romance/chick lit written by authors who aren’t American or British. This is a shame, especially since Monica’s story is set in New York and is so relevant to women everywhere.

On the Internet: If you would like more information about Federica Bosco, be sure to visit her website. The homepage features her books in a really cute way. Also check out her fun Facebook page (right now her profile pic is grumpy cat).

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