Sentimental economy



August 7, 2022

The book is an authentic account of how the author—and the world—navigated the early part of the pandemic.At just over two years into this yet-to-end global pandemic, it’s sensible to question if books tackling the experience are a “too soon” item. The author gracefully handles that exact challenge in this lush work, translated from Italian. Ranging from economics to love and countless stops in between, the author filters his discussions through the lens of what unfolded during 2020 and how it affected business, politics, the arts, and global health. “What types of work, after all, are now to be considered unnecessary, not crucial, and dispensable,” asks the author, “if the work in question allows a people to survive?” The author generously synthesizes his personal experiences, taking readers with him as he chronicles his visits to places such as markets and town squares, places of business, and the beach, where he went to rest. Through it all, he laments the changes brought about by unpredictable viruses, giving readers permission to mourn the world that was and reflect on the time when we moved freely, indulged and enjoyed life, and socialized with little understanding of its fragility. The author is in a unique position to examine the material things that consumers value in a world that has shuttered. In the new normal, Tuscany, where the author lives, cannot fully stem the worry and constant sense of doom and uncertainty—a situation faced by people across the world. Despite repeated references to the idea that nothing new has come about since the 1970s and that we are instead moving within a “maximum possible point of development,” the author sprinkles hope throughout the book. It’s not easy to stitch economics and emotions together on the page, but the author accomplishes it with aplomb. TW


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