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Norman Nawrocki


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Norman Nawrocki is the author of several books of poetry and short stories. He’s also an internationally acclaimed cabaret artist, sex educator, actor, and musician, and has released over 50 albums. He teaches at Concordia University, about how to use the arts for community organizing and radical social change, gives workshops about “creative resistance,” and tours the world performing theatre, music, and cabaret. Cazzarola! is his first novel. He has written and performed a theatre piece based on the book and released an album-length soundtrack to accompany it.

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Cazzarola!: Anarchy, Romani, Love, Italy (A Novel)

Author: Norman Nawrocki
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-315-4
Published: 09/01/2013
Format: Paperback
Size: 8x5
Page count: 300 Pages
Subjects: Fiction/History-Romani

Cazzarola! is a gripping, epic, political, historical, and romantic novel spanning 130 years in the life of the Discordias, a fictional family of Italian anarchists. It details the family's heroic, multigenerational resistance to fascism in Italy and their ongoing involvement in the anarchist movement. From early 20th-century factory strikes and occupations, armed anarchist militias, and attempts on Mussolini's life, to postwar student and labor protest, and confronting the newest wave of contemporary neofascist violence sweeping Europe, the Discordias navigate the decades of political, economic, and social turmoil. Against this historical backdrop, Antonio falls in love with Cinka, a proud but poverty-stricken Romani refugee from the “unwanted people,” without a country or home, forced to flee again and again searching for peace. Theirs becomes a life-changing and forbidden relationship. Both are forced to reevaluate their lives and contend with cultural taboos, xenophobia, and the violent persecution of Romani refugees in Italy today.


“In Romani culture, when enjoying music we don't say, ‘Did you hear that?’ We say, ‘Did you feel that?’ I didn't just read Cazzarola! I felt it. As a Romani woman who has lived in Italy, this very relatable novel often echoed the pages of my own life. Bravo, Ta Aves Baxtalo!”
—Julia Lovell, Romani activist and filmmaker

"Cazzarola! is a powerful, blunt, epic scream against social injustice."
—David Lester, author of The Listener

“A brilliant title for a brilliant story of love and rage, which the author shares with his characters in every page. Cazzarola! reads like a film, a sort of Bertolucci’s Novecento recast in contemporary Italy. Nawrocki skillfully manages to interweave scenes of everyday Italian life and fine psychological analysis in a grandiose historical fresco."
—Davide Turcato, historian of Italian anarchism, editor of The Complete Works of Errico Malatesta

“A stunning achievement!"
—Ron Sakolsky, author of Swift Winds

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cazzarolaCazzarola!: Anarchy, Romani, Love, Italy: A Review
by Peter Seyferth
Anarchist Studies 23-2

"...Cazzarola! tells the stories of Antonio Discordia, his love, and his family. Antonio is a student, a musician, and an anarchist. He lives his punk rock life-
style with beer and activism, like many of us. But then he falls in love with Cinka Dinicu, a beautiful violin player. Cinka is a Romani, and this makes their love very complicated. Romans and Romani do not easily fit, they live in different, almost incompatible worlds. While Antonio is not rich (he has to share a flat), Cinka is bitterly poor. She lives in a slummy camp with naked soil for a floor in the shoddy shed she shares with her whole family. She has to earn a living for all of them by playing her violin in public places, always being on the lookout against dangerous Italians who might attack her. Cinka has not chosen a romantic ‘Gypsy’ lifestyle, she’d rather live in a comfortable home, accepted by her neighbours – but Italy won’t let her..."

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cazzarolaCazzarola!: Anarchy, Romani, Love, Italy (CD): A Review
L'ATTAQUE, Montreal, Quebec

Montreal's Norman Nawrocki presents one of his most ambitious recordings of his long career: a soundtrack for his novel of the same name, CAZZAROLA! Dozens of musicians participate, including the ex-Rhythm Activism guitarist, Sylvain Côté and Norman's bands DaZoque! and Crocodile. The album combines street sounds and field recordings in Italy, with traditional Italian instruments and contemporary music. The mix is a success.

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cazzarolaCazzarola!: Anarchy, Romani, Love, Italy (A Novel): A Review
by Steve Izma
Fifth Estate
Pg 33-34
Fall/Winter 2014

Cazzarola! [don’t say it in polite Italian company!] traces generations of resistance
to fascism and bourgeois society in Italy
Emma Goldman and other activists influenced the ideas and conditions of these anarchists, especially as part of international solidarity programs for those facing repression from totalitarian regimes.

Today, North American English-speaking anarchists have access to many classic texts dealing with the movement in Spain, especially those dealing with the Spanish Revolution of the late 1930s, but literature on the Italian movement of that era is harder to find.

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cazzarolaNorman Nawrocki talks about Cazzarola!: Anarchy, Romani, Love, Italy (A Novel)
by Sara Anderson
December 3rd, 2013

Cazzarola!: Anarchy, Romani, Love, Italy is a new novel by Montreal's Norman Nawrocki, a musician, theatre artist, and activist. Cazzarola! is a story of love and politics, a multigenerational panorama that brings to life the struggles of a family of Italian anarchists and the beauty of their homeland. In an interview with Nawrocki, intermixed with sound from the Winnipeg book launch and companion CD, Sara Arenson blends a discussion of fascism, anarchism, and persecution of Roma refugees with striking monologues and charming music. At a time when reverence of Hitler and Mussolini is on the rise in Italy, and the situation of the Romani people is growing increasingly desperate, the world needs to hear what is happening.

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cazzarolaCazzarola!: Anarchy, Romani, Love, Italy (A Novel): A Review
by Qristina
Golden Zephyr
October 3rd, 2013

"Cazzarola!: Anarchy, Romani, Love, Italy" by Norman Nawrocki, might just be one of my favorite books of all time. When I first sat down to read, I wasn't really hoping for much - another story with Gypsy characters as stereotypical tropes filling a need for mystery, intrigue, and danger.

But cazzo!!!! I was so spectacularly and pleasantly surprised!

Spanning 130 years in the life of the Discordias, a family of Italian anarchists, Cazzarola! Is at once a leap into Italian history and politics, as well as a romantic journey with a couple who simply should not be together.

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More from Norman...

Norman on Riverside TV

A 2009 Montreal documentary interview (in French and English) with Norman Nawrocki about his novel, Cazzarola!, and the stage dramatization he wrote inspired by the book.
This was his first performance of the piece at the 2009 Montreal International Anarchist Theatre Festival.

In the interview, he explains why he wrote the book. Follow the link below.

Cazzarola ou la résistance contre le fascisme by actualite_citoyenne

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