Down and Out in England and Italy
Alberto Prunetti, Elena Pala
A wry, intelligent, and unputdownable look at class and national identity today.
Alberto Prunetti arrives in the UK, the twenty-something-year-old son of a Tuscan factory worker who has never left home before. With only broken English, his wits, and an obsession with the work of George Orwell to guide him, he sets about looking for a job and navigating his new home.
In between long, hot shifts in pizzerias and cleaning toilets up and down the country, he finds his place among the British precariat. His comrades form a polyglot underclass, among them an ex-addict cook, a cleaner in love with opera, an elderly Shakespearean actor, Turks impersonating Neapolitans to serve pizzas, and a cast of petty criminals ‘resting’ between bigger jobs.
Stuck between a past haunted by Thatcher and a future dominated by Brexit, Down and Out in England and Italy is a hilarious and poignant snapshot of life on the margins in modern-day Britain.
'A hallucinatory and savage account of modern working life. Both surreal and instantly recognisable.' -- Jeff Sparrow, author of No Way But This and Trigger Warnings 'Alberto Prunetti's scatalogical, sociological, phantasmagorical, novel Down and Out in England in Italy might have George Orwell spinning in his grave and chuckling in recognition at the kitchen workers, toilet cleaners, and children of miners and steel workers ... A deep poignancy here too.' -- Anthony Cartwright, author of How I Killed Margaret Thatcher 'Down and Out in England and Italy is funny, honest, and literary. Prunetti's memoir reveals what life is really like for those in low-paid jobs around England while celebrating the bonds that exist between the have-nots. All of this and the history of bolognese too!' -- Paul McVeigh, author of The Good Son 'Alberto Prunetti is a brother to every dispossessed wage slave in the UK. This is what's happening and it's only getting worse. Prunetti writes like a cross between John Fante and Jason Williamson. Surreal, defiant, and very very funny.' -- Howard Cunnell, author of The Painter's Friend
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