The Standard Life of a Temporary Pantyhose Salesman

Aldo Busi, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $25 (430p) ISBN 978-0-374-22717-3
Praised in Europe as a satire of modern Italian decadence, Busi's picaresque adventure may pose a conundrum to American readers. Its hero, peevish intellectual Angelo Bazarovi, has dozens of homosexual escapades, grows obsessed with a very young girl, and fantasizes constantly about revenge and ideal love. He simultaneously idolizes and disdains his boss, Celestino Lometto, a boorish con man who parlays his panty-hose factory into a fortune. Bazarovi seethes with condescension or contempt for married men, most women and the nouveaux riches; Lometto is cool toward his own homoerotic impulses, his controlling wife Edda and Jewish businessmen (portrayed in ugly stereotypes). This odd couple embarks on sales trips that show us a seedy world of transvestites, swinish saleswomen, addicts, fast-talking salesmen. When Lometto dispatches his pregnant wife to New York, hoping the baby will be a future U.S. president, she gives birth to a mongoloid. Attempts to dispose of the baby result in blackmail. Because the author rarely makes clear his own viewpoint, the satiric effect is blunted as we wallow through a decadent milieu. (August)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Paperback - 978-0-571-14162-3
Paperback - 444 pages - 978-0-374-52819-5
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