Gross, David M. “Fast Company: A Memoir of Life, Love and Motorcycles in Italy”, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
Living in the Fast Lane
I love books like David Gross’ “Fast Company” because they tell so much about learning how to live. What we have is a journey and this is a journey of life. Gross takes us on a ride that is an exciting trip of understanding how to experience a new country a new career and a new relationship all at the same time. He meets personal challenges that are similar to the personal challenges all of us meet and his persona story becomes our own.
Leaving the legal profession to go to Italy and ride a cycle is a brave move especially since life in Italy is very different from what a Wall Street lawyer is accustomed to. Gross comes across as a rebel who will not be tied down to corporate America and leaves it all to find himself in a foreign country. He goes to Italy to advise a motorcycle company on how to go public and in doing s takes the Ducati ride of his life. What is so amazing is how there is a tinge of sexuality in almost all that he writes whether it be the Italian coutryside or the social classes of the country.
I have never been really interested in riding a motorcycle but after reading this I want to get out and buy a bike and hit the road. Gross explains his love for life in the way he shows his love for babies and his view of the world as theater with all of us being bit players on the world stage. His love for his fellow man is reflected in the way he related his love affair with another man.
The book entertains completely and is filled with wealth and humor and honesty above all else We get such a unique picture of Italy and a wonderful look at the loneliness of what it is to be an American living in a foreign country. The characters that Gross gives us are wonderful; a group of misfits, lost and lonely souls, and those with very sharp egos. Reading the book is like what I imagine a ride on the autor’s motorcycle might be.
We get a look at the inside of a company with its wild personalities and clashes of interests that manages, despite executives who preen, to produce motorcycles that have dominated the world of racing and are recognized everywhere in the world, For a book about the motorcycle business there is also a great deal of sex.
As I said before, the book itself is a motorcycle ride. Gross gives such astute observations on everything from being an American lawyer, to describing the countryside of Italy, to corporate branding and relationships that are unfulfilled that you really feel that you are there with him. His talent for description is vivid so much so that I see myself sitting down beside him and having a cappuccino while observing the Italians walking by.
A word or two about the author—he is a gay man who is looking for a partner and he spent time looking for young sex partners. Ashe lives in Italy, he seems to turn back the clock and become younger. He enters a world that few of us have the opportunity to enter and he lets himself go and takes us with him.