Gordiano Lupi, “Calcio e acciaio”

Patrizia Poli
6 min readJul 21, 2022

The problem with life is that, even when it never changes, it changes all the time.”

A novel where very little happens, “Football and Steel” by Gordiano Lupi, centered on a Proustian remembrance, a madeleine that refers profusely to the author’s previous book, the beautiful “In search of lost Piombino”. Here too nostalgia is the main figure, it permeates all the pages in an excruciating way.

Giovanni returned to Piombino to fall ill with memories. When reality is not what we want it to be, we end up taking refuge in the past. “

The author disseminates himself, spreading himself on the various characters, Giovanni in the first place, but also Marco, Gino, Paolo, Paola, who all have the habit of remembering, of not adapting to everyday reality but looking for something else, something that had to to be and has not been, something that can never be again.

Giovanni finds himself thinking that perhaps he does not miss Cinema Sempione so much, as the taste of days that cannot return, when everything was still uncertainty and discovery of the future, when the images on the big screen were his open eyes dreams. That’s right, like an ice cream still tasted today that does not retain the taste of the past, even if you buy it in the same ice cream parlor of your childhood. It tastes like things that can’t come back. It tastes of regret.

All the characters have tastes, obsessions, interests that can be traced back to the author, from football, to cinema, to reading, to Cuba, and in them the gap between ideal and real is very strong, the arrow pointing upwards — where the real is always a loser — which is the most typical feature of Romanticism. These are people who “carry the thread of the horizon in their eyes”, because what they possess is never enough, they are not satisfied with the present but languish in regret, in a need that is always unfulfilled, always moved forward or backward.

Giovanni, the protagonist, is a former footballer of national fame who now, at the age of fifty, coaches the Piombino team, the city where he was born and raised and where all his memories are kept. Giovanni is a harsh man because he is fragile, a man who knows the terrible loneliness of those who feel alone in the midst of others, alone while eating a pizza with friends, alone while having sex with a partner with whom he is not in love. Perhaps, paradoxically, he is less alone when he walks without anyone on the cliffs from…

Patrizia Poli

Patrizia Poli was born in Livorno in 1961. Writer of fiction and blogger, she published seven novels.