Friday, November 2, 2018

GUEST POST ~ The Perfect Idiot by Frank Iodice

The Perfect Idiot by Frank Iodice

Title: The Perfect Idiot
Author: Frank Iodice
Genre: Fiction
Release Date: Winter 2019
List Price: TBA 
Publisher: Articoli Liberi
Synopsis: A Perfect Idiot is a poetic, tender novel. Odette is a six years old girl. She is living in a foster home in the south of France when she meets the narrator, a night custodian, and decides he should be her father. To look for him, Odette escapes with the help of an old Argentinian prostitute, Signorina Rosario Rossi, who has quite an original philosophy of life, and her ex-boyfriend, don Vito Palladino, an irreverent parish priest…

Frank Iodice created a series of marginal, eccentic characters trapped in a story full of delicate and yet bitter regrets.  With his sense of humor and his humanity, he was albe to help them find meaning in their unfulfilled lives.

Meli Montreux was always tired every morning she arrived. She gave me the impression that someone hadn't let her sleep. I imagined that a big hairy brute forced her to stay up all night. When she walked in, she sat down placing her chin on the palm of her hand. Her honest face, framed by her short, disheveled hair, didn't show the traces of violence that I found in the other social workers. It couldn't be described like any other face; probably it came very close to what I would call now perfection. Meli often wore long skirts with flowers, and smiled with her lips closed. 
Up there in Sospel we had a big black cat found on the street. That night, he was waiting for the fat from my ham; he stared at me from the sill of a window so low that it could also work as a door if you had long legs. I ate without looking outside and didn't share my ham with the cat. I didn't have the time because, a few days later, I died. 
On the hill across the way, there was the white building where the General lived. He was explaining to the cleaning woman how to wash his balcony, one tile at a time. The cypresses with a few branches out of place swayed, imitating the clouds. A beetle came in and began to beat against the wrong wall. It's going to end up killing itself, I thought. In the meantime, I listed the scenes I had seen in the previous days. 
I very much enjoyed making lists.

Uno. A mother thanks cars while crossing the street: her daughter imitates her and thanks the cars. Another mother doesn't thank the cars: her daughter imitates her and doesn't thank. Heredity of civility.
Due. The hairdresser complains about the stink from the public toilets. There's pee everywhere, she screams, but the pee is perfumed by anise, so that the hairdresser hopes no one has heard her.
Tre. This morning the girls were playing with the cat, which, at least apparently, didn't smile at them. From the back of the garden came the deep chirps of the blackbirds and the pleasant cold of the land. 
I liked the cat, too. Early in the morning, we were the only ones in the garden. We kept each other company while waiting for the others. I felt the calm of the green, old estate. The caretakers arrived at seven in the morning. On the weekend at seven-thirty. 
I was the custodian. I’ve always been a custodian. At night I was the only one to watch over the children. I brought books and sweets with me. I had been reading almost a book a day ever since my own childhood. As for the pastries, the kids and I ate them in secret, at least a couple each. The ones with a lot of cream were the hardest to hide. 
In that place on the edge of Nice, I could imagine the city any way I wanted because I didn't hear its noise. When I left in the morning, after my night shift, I felt my legs heavy and lazy. I had time to see details that, otherwise, I wouldn't have noticed: like the noise the hairdresser made when she placed nail polish in the window (the hairdresser was also the beautician of the town) the little bottles clattered against each other or hit the glass and made the same sound of pebbles on the beach, a liquid pleasing knocking. There was also the girl with the long neck, who left home with a bunch of flowers in her hand. She might have been the daughter of the florist, a woman with the same neck, whose shop was a little down the street, but I enjoyed imagining that she received a fresh bunch every evening, and that the next morning she passed them on to someone else.

‘A child who doesn’t read is a child who doesn’t dream.’
Articoli Liberi is based in the south of France. We are a nonprofit organization born to diffuse free books to schools all over the world. We distribute for free and we use the proceeds from the online sales to print extra copies. The objective is to join as more students as we can and pass down the importance of reading to the new generation.

We are a group of friends, all different from each other, but united by a unique big passion: reading. We believe that a book keeps in its pages the ideas of the person who wrote it, but also those of the person who reads and will speak about it. And for this exchange of ideas, we started exchanging books.
We decided to collaborate with Frank Iodice and publish his amazing novel because (as it was with his ‘Brief Dialogue on Happiness with Pepe Mujica’) it contains all the messages that we ourselves try to leave to the young: the importance of personal freedom; love for reading and for a simple life; rebellion against the modern politics of hate and obsessive competition.
‘A Perfect Idiot’ was originally published in Italian as ‘Un perfetto idiota’, by Edizioni Il Foglio, in February 2017. An excerpt from the first version of this translation project appeared in Trafika Europe 14 - Italian Piazza, in July 2018. Then the author reworked the whole novel and turned it into a new novel, as he himself explained to us:

‘I had to change the structure of every sentence, cutting almost 50 pages in total. Many paragraphs from the original version simply didn’t work in English. So, I adapted my story to an English-speaker readership. And I must admit that I prefer it now. The story goes right where I want it to go’.

The English version will be distributed for free to schools (starting with a conference plan across France, Italy, and the UK50 copies to each school).

It will be also presented at the Writers Weekend, Augusta University, in March 2019, by the author and Giada Biasetti, one of the professors that collaborated on this wonderful project.
If you want to know more about our future encounters with the students or our nice books, follow us at

Diffusing books for free has turned out to be our vocation, but we constantly need your support if we want to succeed.

We are proud of the cover art. It was realized by Gary Taxali, an acclaimed, award-winning fine artist and illustrator, known for his retro stylized art in the realm of pop. Gary was glad to participate in our project and offered his terrific artwork wishing us the best with this mission. Find out more about Gary Taxali at

Frank Iodice is an Italian freelance journalist and writer. He is the author of numerous novels, like ‘La meccanica dei sentimenti’ (Eretica Edizioni 2018), ‘Matroneum’ (Il Foglio 2018), ‘Un perfetto idiota’ (Il Foglio 2017) and many more. 10.000 copies of his ‘Brief Dialogue on Happiness with Pepe Mujica’ have been distributed for free to French and Italian high schools.
He lives between Paris and Lyon.  His blog is

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