2 Out of 2
The two protagonists who are as different as chalk from cheese. The charismatic dare-devil Guido, though endowed with immense personal charm, and innate abilities as a leader of men (as well as being the darling of all the girls), is subtly flawed, and unable to match his own significant aspirations. Guido’s prophetic idealism, and his frustrated attempts to escape his lower-class origins and change the world, nevertheless seem doomed to failure. He eventually writes a best-selling book, highly acclaimed by the critics, in which he condemns the social mores of the Italian seventies—corruption, terrorism, bombs and anarchy. Although, through his novel, he is initially acclaimed as a prophet of sorts, he predictably falls victim to vitriolic, self-serving critics who enjoy demolishing him. Eventually, despite his enormous talent, Guido will remain an eternal dreamer; whereas his closest friend who has always depended on him—the insecure narrator, Mario, always the more practical and circumspect of the two—will finally learn to actualize his own dreams, helping to change the world through actualizing his own dream of authenticity. Meanwhile, the alienated Guido will succumb to his own inevitable destiny.
July, 1700, Rome. Atto Melani—once a celebrated castrato soprano, now a spy in the service of King Louis XIV, the Sun King—mingles with other high-ranking guests at the villa of Cardinal Spada. Despite being there to celebrate the Cardinal's nephew's wedding, the main topic of conversation is the grave illness of the Pope and the approaching demise of Charles II, King of Spain. Charles has no heir and Kaiser Leopold of Austria and King Louis are each demanding the throne, with the Vatican supposedly mediating. Keen to promote his master's cause, Melani sets in motion a grandiose conspiracy that will plunge him into a world of secret languages, religious sects, forged Royal wills and Europe into war.
Design as Art
How do we see the world around us? The Penguin on Design series includes the works of creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision forever. Bruno Munari was among the most inspirational designers of all time, described by Picasso as ‘the new Leonardo’. Munari insisted that design be beautiful, functional and accessible, and this enlightening and highly entertaining book sets out his ideas about visual, graphic and industrial design and the role it plays in the objects we use everyday. Lamps, road signs, typography, posters, children’s books, advertising, cars and chairs – these are just some of the subjects to which he turns his illuminating gaze.