We Want Everything

We Want Everything:A Novel

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Explosive novel of Italy’s revolutionary 1969 by leading Italian novelist

It was the Autumn of 1969, and Italy exploded. Across the north of the country, factory workers stormed out on strike, demanding better pay and working conditions. The slogan “We Want Everything” rang through the streets. Italy’s “Hot Autumn” had begun.

In Nanni Balestrini’s fictionalized account of the uprising, a young worker from Italy’s impoverished south arrives at Fiat’s Mirafiori factory in Torino, where he barely scrapes by with fourteen hour days of backbreaking work. His frustration is palpable, and soon he is agitating again his bosses for fun and giving himself minor injuries to win sick leave. Soon enough, he is swept up by a snowballing worker movement that leads to months of continuous strikes at Mirafiori. Eventually, the conflict bubbles out of the factory. The growing pressure having produced an inevitable crack, the streets are lined with barricades, and tear gas wafts into private homes.

Introduced by Rachel Kushner, author of the critically acclaimed The Flamethrowers, We Want Everything is an explosive account of a revolution that would clear the way for another decade of radical unrest.

Reviews

  • In this fierce, compelling novel, Balestrini has found a way to individualise the universal, and universalise the individual, creating a document of the Italian labour struggles of the 1970s that has great value both as art and history. Balestrini becomes a channel for the working-class narrator, who stands for all the Southern masses who come north to the car factories to participate in the Italian 'economic miracle'. It's a book which charted a new course for fiction, one that deserves further exploration.

    Haru Kunzru, author of White Tears
  • A fine example of a literary use of expressions that were then burgeoning in factories and mass meetings, caught between student unrest and worker fury.

    Umberto Eco, author of The Name of the Rose
  • One of the best novels of the year … Nothing could seem further from or more relevant to our historical moment.

    Chicago Tribune