Wu Ming: 54 (54)

The latest addition to my website is Wu Ming‘s 54 (54). Wu Ming is an Italian collective (five men) and this novel is as the title tells us, set primarily in 1954. It tells several separate stories, featuring real and fictitious characters, which intersect in unexpected ways at various points. Part of it is based on the West’s relationship with Tito’s Yugoslavia. However, there is as story featuring Cary Grant, one featuring General Serov, head of the KGB and another featuring Lucky Luciano, the Italian-American gangster, who had been deported to Italy and who continues his drug-running activities in Italy. At the same time, we are following a group of men who live in Bologna, who had in some cases been involved with the anti-Fascist partisans and who are now primarily communist and opposed to the Italian government. All these stories are lively, colourful and action-packed, with both humour and a bit of pathos, and they all merge, together with the story of a talking thinking TV. It may be a collective novel but it does work.

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