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Infiniti Balcani di Fernando Gentilini: more history, more politics, more…life?

August 29, 2011

A sentimental journey from Pristina to Brussels, as it is written in the subtitle, actually takes place in the one of the most unlikely places of Europe, where Fernando Gentilini, a diplomat by profession, lived and experienced the recent history of the Balkans by himself and in depth, dealing with wars, conflicts, borders closing and opening again. The journey becomes a sort of jotting down memories of Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, all countries considered to be anchored by their own pasts, which Gentilini describes outlining the more romantic, lighter and brighter side of it, always choosing l’incontro invece dello scontro (encounters in place of conflicts), choosing books over arms, and poetry instead of war.

All this without loosing his firm grip of reality of things, which lurks around every corner, but still with the tone of a tourist, looking to “photograph” and capture as much of the landscape and life of this region as possible, using the simple instrument of his own words. So much so, that Infiniti Balcani becomes a declaration of love for a land smothered with the pillow of it’s own unfortunate past, as well as for the people burdened but also beautiful in their almost raw honesty and disregard for foreigners and outsiders. gentilini_balcani[1]

It is not by chance that the cover is so suggestively chosen, transporting the reading immediately to the very heart of the beautiful peninsular, Kosovo, the epicenter of conflicts. From there on, the unpretentious narration takes us over the mountains, into the villages, to the coastline, inside and outside of the borders, offering the discovery of a land so unknown to the average Italian reader and revealing more of the similarities than of the differences. Thanks to this vision of the author, not turned to the past, even when writing about history, but to the present, and maybe even to the future, the Italian reader can get to know a bit more about all the things that were kept hidden for years behind the curtain of television transmissions of the horrors of war.

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