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In his first novel, Criminàl, Pizzati “explored the dark side of a difficult relationship” with his father. In Mappillai, he had the fortune of “describing a serene life with the woman” he loves. “It’s not at all easy,” he qualifies, “to write about happiness. I find it more challenging than describing something more widespread, like suffering. But it’s more fun.”
“An enjoyable, moving and worthwhile read” –
Rohini Malur in Provoke Lifestyle Magazine
Books and Authors: A time of transition: Interview with Carlo Pizzati, author of “Mappillai – an Italian son-in-law in India” (The Hindustan Times)
In a deeply personal book, Italian journalist Carlo Pizzati, who lives with his Indian wife in a coastal village in Tamil Nadu, writes about the simultaneous Hinduization and Westernization of the nation, and about his own Indianization!
What India Taught Me by Carlo “Mappillai” Pizzati (Stories on Toast – YouTube)
“… it doesn’t claim any expertise and is certainly not an exercise in Indophilia. It’s a self-aware India book, about personal experiences, mildly extrapolated to larger issues, but working hard to undermine the Western gaze.”
Italian Mappillai (Times of India – Speaking Tree supplement) In an endearing, personalised account, CARLO PIZZATI shares his experiences in India as son-in-law in a Chennai family
“Europeans go through different phases of discovery in India. There’s the imaginary India of the first phase, the India you have in your mind, that writers like Herman Hesse, Rabindranath Tagore or Rudyard Kipling have etched in your imagination along with some other books, movies or even cartoons; the India ‘that will change you’, that will make you see a new face of humanity, harsher at times, enlightening at others.”
‘Mappillai’ is a serious book in funny clothes. Placing his part-memoir, part-philosophical book in the migrant literature genre, Carlo ruminates: “I think we are all migrants, and I am a privileged migrant…
India is definitely mature, especially in the metropolitan context.”
The book is entertaining, philosophical and insightful all at once.
Pizzati’s journey through various cultures, countries in pursuit of some answers and his settling down in Paramakeni near Chennai finally for love, is well encapsulated.
‘Mappillai’ will make you ponder about the harsh realities we are facing and leave you nodding in
agreement with Pizzati and the ‘point of view’ that he brings not as an expat, but as an immigrant.
“The book was a decade in the making, and took a year-and-a-half to write,” says Carlo. “There is a lot of race identity in it, about the India I first encountered and the India I see now. It is the journey of 10 years of a white European in this country who becomes a local without having to go native.”
“After months of living in a part of India that is not yet ruined by the plague of tourism, months on end of seeing mostly Tamil people, Tamil smiles on Tamil faces, when you do finally spot the occasional pale, waxy-skinned Australian, German, or British tourist attempting to blend in by wearing a hippy tie dye, bangles and necklaces, dreadlocks or braids or simply wearing the comfortable uniform of the Patagonia international army, the mosquito-repelling baggy trousers, the pink, clip-on fanny packs, men with pony-tails and capri pants, or hiding under the wide brimmed jungle-style Crocodile Dundee hats in downtown Chennai, you think: oh, look, look, whiteys!”
Mappillai is part love story, part memoir, part philosophical musings… all of which are tied together with wry humour, some grumpiness and a large dose of acceptance… Pizzati offers shrewd observations on caste and class differences, the yawning gap between the rich and the poor, attitudes of foreigners, bribery….
Writing about India is like writing about the mafia. It’s like owning a pharmacy. Everyone is bound to always get sick, there’ll always be a need for medicines. A never-ending, lucrative business.
“A light-hearted memoir”
“I was someone who came looking for answers but I found an answer that I wasn’t actually looking for, which is, I found love.”
“Besides a little about his earlier life, and what happens to him in village Paramankeni and environs, this book is also about Carlo Pizzati’s conclusions about all kinds of things in a complex land. While he stoutly claims not to be Wendy Doniger, William Dalrymple, Patrick French, – or even Megasthenes, Xuanzang, Al Biruni (and so on) and therefore this CANNOT be ‘an India book’, he does have his own engaging theories about the way things work here. […] In slow, contemplative sentences and in rapid exclamatory ones, his prose and his theme switch rapidly. Perhaps this is just a modern book, aimed at the sophisticated short-attention-span reader. But it is rather effervescent at times (like a stereotypical Italian?)” Saaz Aggarwal in Trenzy magazine Jan 11, 2019.
Video feature in Sole 24 Ore tv about Carlo Pizzati’s journey to Japan to explore the work of Italian author Goffredo Parise, from Vicenza.
Da Parise a Pizzati: scrittori vicentini esplorano il Giappone di Stefano Carrer (Il Sole 24 Ore) 9 NOV 2015
Interviews in Italian with Carlo Pizzati about writing and reading:
AUTHOR BLURBS for TECHNOSHAMANS