Yari Bernasconi and Andrea Fazioli
Zurich, on the Moon
Twelve Months in Paradeplatz
ISBN 978-88-31285-14-8
144 pages, Euro 16,00

A literary reportage, following a year’s long study of Switzerland’s most famous square: Zurich’s Paradeplatz, the city’s finance hub. Writers and witnesses at the same time, the authors of this episodic story offer the tale of a surprising place: people in suits and briefcases, apparently, are much more curious than one might think… Paradeplatz, far from being merely the “square where money is made” is an intimate, wild place, every bit as fantastic as it is real.

For a whole year, a poet and a storyteller have been meeting in Zurich’s Paradeplatz in order to study whatever they would see there. For each rendezvous, they came armed with a notebook and a poem, selected for the occasion. Little did they know that the core of the Swiss finance, a place of money and wealth, brimming with suits, ties and briefcases, is actually a buzzing beehive of strange and surprising characters – the inhabitants of the intimate and roaring place that goes by the name of Paradeplatz.
Such is the genesis of Zurich, on the Moon, a literary reportage in twelve episodes where chronicle and poetry, introspection and nursery rhyme merge with no effort. Fresh and lyrical, it recounts the unexpected human characters that inhabit the “square of the banks”: undercover agents, soldiers on the loose, time travellers, cigarette throwers, Dolce stil novo maidens…

In the words of the authors, Yari Bernasconi and Andrea Fazioli: “We wanted an answer to the question ‘What is a square?’, and we decided to find it by exploring one of the most distinctive places in Zurich, if not in Europe: Paradeplatz, the square of the bank, the beating heart of Swiss finance. Who knows what this place is like, we thought, and what is actually there, behind the thick curtain of commonplaces? Without really knowing where we would end up, we started meeting in the square. The result was a mosaic of many inputs, collected month after month: texts written by the two of us, or just by one, with the revision of the other; photographs, notes, poems… We soon found out that to explore the square also meant to explore ourselves. We can say that this book embodies a common experience – the experience of two writings that merge into one.”


“Why is there a Square of Memory, a Square of the Sun, a Square of Victory, but there is never a Square of Forgetfulness, a Square of Gloom, a Square of Defeat? Why does everyone always pick a Founding Father over a Baker?”.

“Other things we have seen: two girls taking a selfie by the ATMs; a blind man entering Lindt & Sprüngli; twenty-nine between men and women strolling with a cane (including the blind man from before); two school groups; a man blowing his nose in his shirt; a Cuban cigar butt in a vase; a woman wearing a cyclamen-coloured veil; a mother urging her children to walk faster while shouting, in Italian, ‘È laggiù la fontanella!’ (‘The fountain is over there!’); thirteen prams; countless ties; clouds; flags; an upside-down elephant; two Buddhist monks with umbrellas; a pedal cart carrying champagne; two women wearing dresses of the exact same colour as the sky; a candelabra; dogs; cigarettes; cyclists; an extremely tall man”.


Yari Bernasconi (1982) made his debut with the poetry collection Lettera da Dejevo (“A Letter from Jedevo”, Alla Chiara fonte, 2009). His publications include the sylloge Non è vero che saremo perdonati (“No, We Won’t Be Forgiven”, Undicesimo quaderno italiano di poesia contemporanea, Marcos y Marcos, 2012), the collection Nuovi giorni di polvere (“More Days of Dust”, Casagrande, 2015, winner of the award Terra Nova of the Fondazione Schiller and the award Castello di Villalta Giovani), the pamphlets La città fantasma (“The Ghost Town”, Nervi, 2017) and Cinque cartoline dal fronte e altra corrispondenza (“Five Postcards from the Front and Other Mail”, L’arcolaio, 2019).
Andrea Fazioli (1978) made his debut in 2005 with the novel Chi muore si rivede (“You are Still in the Land of the Dead”, Armando Dadò). His most recent publications include Il giudice e la rondine (“The Judge and the Swallow”, Guanda, 2014), La beata analfabeta (“The Illiterate Blessed”, San Paolo, 2016), L’arte del fallimento (“The Art of Failing”, Guanda, 2016, winner of the awards La Fenice Europa and Anfiteatro d’Argento), Gli svizzeri muoiono felici (“Swiss People die Happily”, Guanda, 2018), the collections of short stories Succede sempre qualcosa (“There’s Always Something”, Casagrande, 2018), and Il commissario e la badante (“The Commissioner and the Caretaker”, Guanda, 2020), as well as the unique novel Le vacanze di Studer (“Studer’s Holiday”, Casagrande, 2020), based on a series of unpublished fragments by the great Swiss author Friedrich Glauser.

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