By Fabrizio Ulivieri
The book is written in an atmosphere wherein we feel we are no longer able to breathe. It is set in Europe and Skarmeta leads the reader in a cold and undemocratic Santiago, where a standing frozen rain is imbuing the citizens bones with Pinochet’s political oppression.
The characters are humble and almost basic people. They live as they eat and breathe: they eat Italian, they love Italy (which is a hope for many of them) and they breathe a gray life: the life that the dictator Pinochet concedes and which is the only one possible for any of them.
In spite of this suburban and subhuman atmosphere the book seeks out color, for the essence of life, that democracy might represent, but which probably will never represent because democracy is in reality only an adjustment (compromise) between past and present, between lobbies and citizen and for this reason freedom and happiness are not inherent to the very nature of democracy.