Best books of 2016 – Chicago Tribune – Chicago Tribune

FICTION

We Want Everything by Nanni Balestrini

Translated by Matt Holden, Verso, 226 pages, $24.95

One of the best novels of 2016 is a translation of a novel published in Italy in 1971 about the “hot autumn” of 1969, when workers at Fiat and elsewhere staged a series of strikes to demand better wages and conditions. The charming, vulgar narrator, an unnamed young migrant from southern Italy, just wants to hang out on the beach. He hates everything — work, bosses, unions, security guards, factories — and he wants everything. His political consciousness develops and unfolds until he’s leading wildcat strikes and fighting cops in the streets. Nothing could seem further from or be more relevant to our historical moment: “[We] don’t want to work and die any more for the development of capital and its state. We can’t keep this crap going any more.”

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