Author(s): Vincenzo Cerami
A Very Normal Man is the English translation of Vincenzo Cerami's first and most famous novel, Un borghese piccolo piccolo. The complex word play of the Italian title is untranslatable in English; it means literally a very little, very middle-class man. Little he may be, but Giovanni Vivaldi, to paraphrase Italo Calvino's words, is a victim who is also a monster. This is a revenge story whose protagonist tortures his enemy with the same attention to detail he'd apply to the files he's slogged over for half a lifetime in the office for pensions. And with the same detachment. This classic caught the attention of the greatest figures of the day on the Italian literary scene for its unique amalgam of the storyteller's gifts, its expose of society's subterranean forces, and its black (as well as not so dark) humour.