Everything Is Broken Up and Dances (Hardcover)

The Crushing of the Middle Class

By Edoardo Nesi, Guido Maria Brera, Antony Shugaar (Translated by)

Other Press, 9781590519318, 208pp.

Publication Date: March 27, 2018

List Price: 20.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


This extended autobiographical essay explains in clear, engaging terms how the role of economics and finance in the Western world has shifted in the twenty-first century, from cultivating wellbeing in society to eroding the wealth of the middle class.

Just a handful of years into the new millennium, globalization has had a profound impact on economies and societies throughout Europe and America. In this accessible yet literary work, Edoardo Nesi and Guido Maria Brera illustrate its effects in Italy through the changes that occurred in their own lives: while the former was forced to sell the textile company his grandfather founded before World War II, the latter became one of the key figures in European asset management.

Between Bill Clinton's remarks at the Lincoln Memorial on December 31, 1999 that closed the American Century, and Donald Trump's inauguration speech, economics and finance stopped functioning as instruments constructing a healthy society and became weapons to destroy the middle class. As demagogues seduce citizens of nations across the globe, Everything Is Broken Up and Dances tells the critical story of how we corrupted what we might in retrospect call "the best of all possible worlds"--a world without banking crises, unemployment, terrorism, and populism, in which it was impossible to think that a state might default on its debt.

About the Author

Edoardo Nesi is a writer, filmmaker, translator, and politician. He began his career translating the work of such authors as Bruce Chatwin, Malcolm Lowry, Stephen King, and Quentin Tarantino. He has written six novels, one of which, L'età dell'oro, was a finalist for the 2005 Strega Prize and a winner of the Bruno Cavallini Prize. He wrote and directed the film Fughe da fermo, based on his novel of the same name, and has translated David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest into Italian. In 2013 he was elected as a member of the Italian Parliament's Chamber of Deputies.

Guido Maria Brera is a founding partner of the Kairos Group, an Italian investment management company created in 1999 of which he is Chief Investment Officer. He is the author of I diavoli (2014).

Antony Shugaar is an author as well as a translator. His recent translations include On Earth as It Is in Heaven by Davide Enia, A Pimp's Notes, by Giorgio Faletti, Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone, Romanzo Criminale by Giancarlo De Cataldo, and The Four Corners of Palermo by Giuseppe Di Piazza (Other Press).

Praise For Everything Is Broken Up and Dances: The Crushing of the Middle Class

"...the narrative is often impassionedly lyrical, both literary and musical in quality, as it proceeds from the unbridled optimism of the late 1990s to the abject hopelessness that the authors blame on globalization in general...The analysis often soars as a work of sociocultural criticism...it shows how hopes so high could be brought so low." —Kirkus Reviews

“Fueled by alternating narratives from the two writers, Everything Is Broken Up and Dances pulls no punches in dissecting the misery represented in the difference between what was promised and what actually transpired.” —World Literature Today

“That we exchanged one of the world’s crown jewels—the Italian textile industry—for cheap, unimaginative fast fashion is a crime and a tragedy. You’ll believe this more than ever after reading this agonizingly beautiful book on globalization.” —Elizabeth L. Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion

"If you only do one thing this year - read this book. It will make you laugh, cry and give you a pretty good perspective on what happened to all of us in the last fifty years. We should all have an Edoardo and Guido in our lives." —Livia Firth, Founder and Creative Director of Eco Age Ltd. and Oxfam Global Ambassador
“I absolutely love this book. For anyone searching to better understand our world, this is a roadmap of how we got here and what it means for each and every one of us moving forward. Great wit and chilling insight—could not put it down.” —Andrew Morgan, director of The True Cost 

“It's an aesthetic delight, couching scathing social and economic critique in a near-poetic outpouring of creative rage.” —Popmatters