Ludovica and Lorenzo live in Rome. She works in her family’s bookstore, and he’s a filmmaker — or, rather, a “filmmaker”: so far, all he’s produced is one pretentious short film that even his friends don’t take seriously. But somehow, he gets a scholarship to Columbia University, and the couple decide to head to New York — specifically, to Williamsburg: the promised land.

They soon fall in with a group of Italian expats — all of them with artistic ambitions and the family money to support those ambitions indefinitely. There’s Nicolino, the playboy; Marcello, the aspiring rapper; Sergio, the literary scout; and a handful of others. These languidly ambitious men and women will come together and fall apart, but can they escape their fates? Can anyone?

In Class, Francesco Pacifico gives a grand, subversive, formally ambitious social novel that bridges Italy and America, high and low, money and art. A novel that channels Virginia Woolf and Kanye West, Henry Miller and Lil’ Wayne, Class is an unforgettable, mordantly funny account of Italians chasing the American dream.

FRANCESCO PACIFICO was born in Rome in 1977. He is the author of The Story of My Purity and has translated Will Eisner, Dave Eggers, Henry Miller, Ray Charles, and Dana Spiotta. His work has appeared in n+1McSweeney’s, and the White Review, among other publications.

“[In Class,] Francesco Pacifico turns his attention to Italy’s other major religion: ‘Cool.’ On the trail of Italian hipsters from Rome to Williamsburg, Class is both savage and tender, like Antonioni’s camera.” —Marco Roth, author of The Scientists

“The more I thought about this novel and its dark concerns, I began to realize how Pacifico’s look so beautifully matches his writing’s contradictions…In his novels…the apparently comical surface will suddenly rupture, revealing its ethical precision, its melancholy soul.”  —Adam Thirlwell, Paris Review Daily

“Pacifico’s ability to slyly resuscitate the comedy of manners while deploying a Faulknerian multiple-consciousness narrator—all while thoroughly inhabiting the present moment of conspicuous consumption—has expanded the bounds of contemporary fiction.” —Lucas Iberico Lozada, Paste

Class is a satire about rich kids who make movies, music, and art . . . and the mechanisms that coddle privileged young people into thinking they are living original lives.” —Emily Witt, author of Future Sex

Praise for Francesco Pacifico and The Story of My Purity

“Francesco Pacifico is one of the least innocent novelists I know.” —Adam Thirlwell, The Paris Review

“Francesco Pacifico is a brilliantly funny and weirdly subversive writer. The Story of My Purity manages to be both absurd and sincere; it is impossible to resist Piero Rosini’s precise narration of his struggle to be a saint as he endures so many earthly temptations. A joy to read.” —Dana Spiotta, author of Stone Arabia

“Ho, ho, and ho! Insanely funny and terrifically offensive, Francesco Pacifico’s novel fell on my head like a bowling ball and knocked me the hell out. Among many other things, it’s a great updating of Roman life. American publishers don’t really translate from the Italiano anymore, so it’s great to see a worthy translation of what is sure to be a modern Italian classic.” —Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

“An unstoppable sarcastic force. [Pacifico] is certainly one of the most talented writers of his generation.” —Alessandro Piperno, Vanity Fair (Italy)

“With these viscerally honest and hilarious adventures of a young Roman struggling to free himself from the cynicism of Berlusconi’s ‘bunga bunga’ Italy and the moral absolutism of the Catholic Church, Francesco Pacifico revives the Italian comic novel. The writing is ribald but never vulgar, extremely smart about friendship and sex but without pretension. You’ll laugh aloud, want to hide your blushing face in the pillow, and argue with the author, all at once.” —Marco Roth, author of The Scientists

“Piero Rosini is the extraordinary main character of The Story of My Purity, a rich and surprising, bright and liberal novel, dense with stories and even courageous because of the topics it deals with and the profound lightness with which it deals with them.” —Ivan Cotroneo, Rolling Stone