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Fosco Antonio's My Reality: a rogue Italian Australian autobiography

John Gatt-Rutter


Fosco Antonio's My Reality defies definition even as a text, since it exists in two considerably different versions, the first self-published in 2003, the second published by Total Cardboard (London and Melbourne) in 2007. Viewed as a rogue autobiography, it deconstructs both the self and society as it deconstructs narrative and other modes of discourse, yet it articulates the migrant's displacement from a primeval Italian peasant society to a post-industrial Australia, questioning them both. It is also a death-of-God autobiography, demolishing institutional Catholicism but carrying on a dialogue with St Paul and St Mary McKillop and keeping alive the possibility of some sort of secular sainthood. Narration of first-person experience, fictional narratives, imaginary encounters with prominent Australians already deceased, pontification or debates within the self or with others about gender politics, sexuality and love – these and other forms of discourse, fragmented and criss-crossing each other, make up a text unique in kind. The article focuses mainly on the 2003 edition and looks for elements of coherence in its discursive welter and assesses its reach as compared to more orthodox autobiographical writing.

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Spunti e Ricerche. Rivista d'italianistica.
ISSN (Print): 0816-5432.
ISSN (Electronic): 2200-8942.