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‘Like everyone else, I found myself caught up in this new thing of writing, it was an energy that ran everywhere, and being part of it gave you a whole new sense of adventure: suddenly, unexpectedly, the city was yours. Really yours, I mean: you owned it, you felt it in your hands, and at the same time it revealed itself as an endless field, it became infinite…’.How far back in time does one have to go to recount the birth of graffiti? To the caves of Lascaux, to the engravings on the walls of Pompeii, or to the viral drawings left by American soldiers during the war? Certainly it was in the early 1970s, among inner-city kids who started tagging the streets of Philadelphia and New York, that the phenomenon took hold, exploded and spread all over the world. Since then it is a proliferation of names, an evolution of styles and strands in which it is almost impossible to put order. Despite ever-harsher repression and an obsession with decorum, today graffiti is everywhere, it has won. Street art sells in auction houses, is used in advertising, even becomes a tool of real estate speculation. What is left of the clandestine spirit of the origins? To find out, this novel takes us between art galleries and train depots, with the hood of our sweatshirt pulled up and a couple of canisters in our backpacks, to smell the paint and feel the adrenalin that suddenly rises, moving in the dark to bite into the flesh of the city and claim the right to exist in an urban space dominated by the logic of profit.


Vanni Santoni published Gli interessi in comune (Feltrinelli) in 2008 and Se fossi fuoco arderei Firenze (Laterza) in 2011. In 2013 he published his first fantasy novel, Terra ignota, followed in 2015 by Le figlie del rito (Mondadori). His other books include: La stanza profonda (Laterza, 2017), L’impero del sogno (Mondadori, 2017) and I fratelli Michelangelo (Mondadori 2019).

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