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Even tycoons cry Life at the top doesn’t agree with the heart. Matteo Bonadies’ latest novel explains it for us in a tale of ambition and success set in Italy, the U.S. and Australia, down to the bitterness of old age and the inescapable changes on withdrawal from the scene by Sergio D’Amaro
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With swift and sure pen, entrepreneur and writer Matteo Bonadies brings forth another instalment of his abundant narrative production. In last year’s novel, Pater Familias, he has offered us a compact reflection on the transformation of family roles and the imbalances that modernity has brought inside the new generations in their relationships with the older ones. In Anche il sole tramonta (Ed. Barrafranca, Bonfirraro 2014, pp. 135, € 15,90) Bonadies writes his realistic portrait of the often painful contradictions that strike so many happy people who are immersed in the demanding business of managing power. The design of this short novel is clear, based on the character of a winner, Luciano Manzi, universally known as Lucky (nomen omen) Bonadies delineates the decisive biographical stages in Lucky’s life, taking him up very young but already busy with his university courses and in the perfect understanding with his closest friend Daniela. Lucky, not content with his successes in Milan, feels an urge within to express himself in America, an aspiration that fast becomes a reality in the area of Boston. Lucky is as restless and ambitious as his closest friend, Federico, is self-possessed and loyal to his roots. So the two destinies that take on the respective faces of the loser (Federico, who dies later of a serious illness) and the winner (Lucky) are delineated. But is that real glory, and above all, real happiness?

Bonadies accompanies the winning Lucky in his amazing career as a businessman. His love for the Australian, Jennifer is to be the springboard to leap across another ocean and make landfall in Sydney, where he becomes manager director of an important electronics company. Lucky’s life is besieged by time (which is money) and space (the distances he has to cover in kangaroo-land). The ménage with the fascinating Jennifer, daughter herself of an Australian minister, becomes difficult, since in a life at the top you need more than one heartthrob and who better than a show business star like Amy. Lucky’s daily agenda is packed with clandestine appointments, and even his neglected wife Jennifer, ends up in the arms of Cooper, the biographer who is putting together, by means of periodical interviews, the career of tycoon Lucky Manzi.

Slowly we ease into the third and then the fourth age. What remains of our hero? Bonadies’ narrative ride notes the cruel insults of the calendar, the unequivocal developments of his withdrawal from the scene, the inevitable weighing up to be done before the great journey. Money, success and ambition do not agree with love, with existential authenticity or the rhythm of a healthy internal balance. Lucky’s son Frederik, him too a winner, reminds him of this, but only because he has fulfilled his humanistic vocation at the University of Boston.

The only, final redemption, before Alzheimer’s devastates the main character’s mind, springs from the decision to set up a foundation in his name in order to build a large hospital and research center. And so a life lived at a gallop can be honorably signed off, and you can look out of the porthole to change your views on the value of feelings and on a sky that is much bigger than our earthly glories.

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