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Chicco and Lele belong to traditional families where much pressure is put on them to follow heterosexual lifestyles. The relationship of the main character, Chicco, with his family is one of the keys to reading the novel: it is full of contradictions, misunderstandings and of another type of love, and is a paradigmatic relationship for many children and siblings today.
The novel, set in Rome, Bologna and Berlin in the late Nineties, is a bildungsroman (i.e. a coming of age novel) and deals with current topics and explicitly confronts central themes for teens of any time and sexual identity: the capacity to love and to love oneself, the courage it takes to chose; respecting your own dreams and those of others.
Praise for Angeli da un'ala soltanto
"Many books often don't do a good job on this subject, but that is not the case with this novel. One-winged Angels gets it right. It has a force, a power of its own and a justification. It gets it right because the story is tangible. This book gets it right because the construction is convincing, the findings aren't lacking and the writing is smooth and intriguing".
(Daniele Scalise, editor of the Mondadori Anthology in five volumes Men on Men)
"A work that is intense, breathtaking and draws you in: whoever reads it feels the authenticity of their actions and feels that the characters are real. Not to exclude the writing itself: the hand that guides the reader is sure of itself, the language is researched; the style is impeccable".
(Maria Paulucci, Aut, November 2004)
"One-winged Angels is an enthralling book, it's almost a stereotypical teenage love story, full of sentimental outbursts and huge life plans. The impetuous portrayal of Chicco and his passion for Lele is embarrassing at times, while he lays bare the desperate completeness with which a young person can give himself to the object of his love".
(Giulio Maria Corbelli, Gay.it).
"This is the first bildungsroman published in Italy where homosexual love, between two contemporary Romans, is treated faithfully and simply: as a love between two people".
(Adele Cambria, L'Unità, 12/01/2005).
"The second part of the novel is more tense and dramatic, even stylistically; he tells with an anger and determination the suffered elaboration of abandonment and absence, until the end, which is filled with romantic suggestions and is not at all predictable. (...) Gastaldi narrates, with originality, a story about angels that are somewhat naive, but often with a worrying sweetness, followed by a pressure that could be defined as militant".
(Francesco Gnerre, Pride, February 2005).
"The subtle irony and tenderness mixed with an efficient and sporadic use of dialect by the author, guides us through the different stages of the story, in which, a virtual soundtrack dominated by Smiths and Morrissey, carries out the function of a choir".
(Ansa take, March 4, 2005).
"Alternating passages from the book with parts of songs - the same songs that are a part of the soundtrack noted at the end of the volume, (...) Gastaldi is able to highlight a minor vein that is very present: that of comedy. In most passages Francesco responds to the pressure of the events in his life with the ironic comment of his thought, which is used as a tool that allows him to deal with reality".
(Gabriele Dadati, Libertà, March 2005).
"Sciltian Gastaldi, a 30-year-old Roman writer and journalist, confronts the theme of homosexuality in a direct way in his debut novel One-winged Angels. Francesco, a student in the stage between high school and college, tells his own difficult story of love with his peer Emanuele in the first person, a story of secret meetings, contrasting families, selfishness and misunderstandings. With a dramatic ending, of a high literary and emotional quality".
(Riccardo Trani, La Piazza dell'Aurelio, February 2005).
"It's hard to say more about a book that is meant to be read. It's a good book, intense, emotional, mostly because it is free of prejudice and it helps whoever is reading it to overcome some of their own prejudices".
(L'arcilettore, April 2005).
"The stylistic capabilities of Gastaldi are reflected in the intense exchanges of email with which the two young men entrust their secrets, emotions and tears. The language is informal and immediate, without a filter, just like their speech: "spoken" as a dialogue among friends. This is a novel with fast and fluid narration; that speaks about feelings "sadly out of style", showing the devastating destructive power of positive energy".
(Claudia Prescotto, Inchiostro, May/July 2005).
"A beautiful and intense love story between two nineteen-year-olds, Francesco and Emanuele. It unwinds through the lines of long, turbulent emails, late night conversations in chat rooms and daily meetings in exceptional places: the Tiberina Island, the Imperial Forum and the artistic beauty of Rome that remains distant and impassive".
(Simona Flotta, Mondo Libero, May 2005).
"This debut novel by a 30-year-old journalist, active in the GLBT movement, presents himself from the first witty remarks as an underground homage to Les mauvais anges (Wicked Angels) by Eric Jourdan, while the cover is dedicated to Matthew Shepard, the American student who was murdered by two young homophobes in 1998".
(Daniele Cenci, Inverses, 5/ 2005).
"One-winged Angels is a love story, about a love between two teens, and it takes hold of you from the first page to the last".
(Valerio Barbini, L'Ateo, January 2006).
"If you still haven't read Sciltian Gastaldi's debut novel do so as soon as possible. Read it as your civic duty if you are heterosexual, but most of all to educate yourself to the imaginary. If you are gay, read it to see yourself in it or to distance yourself from it, devour it because it is a love story but of the sad kind, worrying, maybe because it's sincere, because it is of the genre that helps you to feel less alone when it is indisputable".
(Viviana Rosi, Corpo 12, gennaio 2006).