If Sheila Heti was Italian and wrote a modern Franny & Zooey, it would approximate how powerful and magnificent Veronica Raimo’s novel Lost on Me is.
Kirkus wrote of the book:
“Filled with humor and neuroses…Raimo weaves together a series of nonlinear vignettes with a deft hand, connecting seemingly disparate moments through themes of longing, loneliness, identity, and, perhaps most profoundly, the concept of memory itself…A witty and complex portrait of a woman becoming herself.”
This book is about me. Sort of. “Let’s just say this is me” says the narrator of the book, which is me, sort of. So, let’s just say this is me and this is a playlist of songs which had a meaning in my life. I can’t say they are my favorite songs. That would be almost an impossible playlist to think of, it would change so much every year, every month, every single moment. So, these are songs that I used to listen to in some particular moment of my life, or maybe not even particular, just some random moments, some memorable and unmemorable moments. It’s all Italian stuff.
Minuetto – Mia Martini
Mia Martini was my father’s favorite singer. He really loved her, my mother was almost jealous: “So, why do you find her so interesting?” she would ask. In our long, exhausting, summer trips towards Apulien, where we had holidays, he kept on playing Mia Martini on the car stereo, which made it my summer soundtrack for many years when I was a kid. I liked this song very much. My mother not so much. Martini died at 47 after a very troubled life.
Summer on a Solitary Beach – Franco Battiato
“La voce del padrone” by Franco Battiato was the first audio tape I bought myself, at a gasoline station, during one of the aforementioned long, exhausting summer trips towards Apulien. When I grew up, I discovered Battiato had made lot of albums before that, much weirder, avant-garde and experimental stuff, and he became one of my favorite Italian musicians, but that album it’s still his best success. This happens. He died two years ago.
Maledetta primavera – Loretta Goggi
When I was in high school, I walked home from school with my best friend Cecilia. I can’t say we had wonderful voices, and to be honest we sang atrociously, but nonetheless we loved to sing, and that’s one of the songs that – during that walk – we loved to sing aloud, very aloud, totally careless about people around. I wish I could have the same carelessness today.
Ti ricordi quei giorni – Francesco Guccini
Francesco Guccini’s concert was my first concert. There I met my first boyfriend; I saw him in the crowd and kept looking at him during the whole concert. When it finished, I saw him in line to the bathroom and went there and told him he was the most beautiful guy I had ever seen (sic), then gave him a piece of paper with my telephone number (not my self-phone number, since I had none, but the telephone number of my family house), and then ran away since my father was waiting outside the concert hall to drive me home. I was fifteen.
Gomma – Baustelle
When – at the University – I moved together with Cecilia and Milena, another friend, to my grandparents’ home, I was totally obsessed with “Sussidiario illustrato della giovinezza”, the first studio album by Baustelle (I also think it has one of the best titles ever, something like “Illustrated Textbook of Youth”, but I fear it doesn’t sound as good in English). At first my friends couldn’t stand me and my obsession, but slowly they became affected too. That was my favorite track of the album.
CCCP had been the first Italian band in which I recognized a sense of political and aesthetic belonging, and also my Italian access to punk. I never had a chance to see them playing live since I was too young. When I started writing as music journalist, I went to interview the former CCCP’s leader, who in the meantime was converted to Catholicism, was a huge supporter of Pope Benedict XVI and was against abortion.
Non mi piace viaggiare – Giorgio Poi
As it often happens, I wrote most of this novel in Berlin. I like to go to Berlin and live in someone’s place in order to write. But I hate to travel. Especially I hate to take a flight. It’s not that I am scared, flying just makes me bored. And I would gladly smash all those horrible wheeled luggages who look like cubic dogs. Every time I am on a plane, I listen to this song, and I feel reassured that there are other people who hate travelling just like me.
Also at Largehearted Boy:
Veronica Raimo is the author of four novels, the most recent of which, Lost On Me (Niente di Vero) was shortlisted for the Premio Strega Prize and won the Strega Off Prize, the Strega Giovani Prize and the Viareggio Rèpaci Prize. Her 2019 novel The Girl at the Door (Miden) was called “Darkly amusing…profoundly feminist” by Jezebel and “tight and provocative” by Salon. Her stories have appeared in various anthologies and magazines, here and abroad. She wrote the collection of poems Le bambinacce with Marco Rossari. She cowrote the script for the film Sleeping Beauty (2012) by director Marco Bellocchio. She contributes cultural articles to various Italian publications, and her translations into Italian include works by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Octavia. E. Butler, Ray Bradbury and Ursula K. Le Guin. Film rights to Lost On Me were acquired by Fandango and the book will also be published in the UK, France and Germany.