Generazione Mille Euro, otherwise translated as The 1,000 Euro Generation or Generation €1000, is a novel written by two Italian journalists, Antonio Incorvaia and Alessandro Rimassa. The pair were born in 1974 and 1975 respectively, and the novel tells of the lives of similarly aged young adults living precariously in Milan.

In the story there is 27 year old Claudio, an economics graduate from Bocconi University who now works as a junior account manager in the marketing area of a cellphone gadgets firm. He is from the region of Emilia Romagna, so he also has to carry an out-of-towner stigma in the highly provincial Lombardy capital.

Rents are high all over Europe, and Milan is especially expensive. Furthermore salaries in Italy are low (and even much lower after tax), and employment is unstable. Claudio earns 1,028 Euros a month, which is about the cost to rent an apartment for a month. So Claudio has to live with three other people, and the four thus remain in a prolonged adolescence state, a generation wedged between high rents, low incomes and few opportunities.

Living with Claudio is Rossella. She is a 26 year old communication studies graduate, who earns 900 Euros a month as a trade show hostess and part-time babysitter. There is also the shy 30 year old goateed philosophy-graduate Alessio, who has given up trying for a career in journalism and now works in the post office for 1,100 Euros a month. Lastly there is 25 year old Matteo, who can afford to chase girls while putting in minimum effort into his studies, thanks to his father providing 1,500 Euros a month in pocket money.

The book seeks to illustrate what the authors perceive is an emergent new poor in Italy. The Italian economy is a sluggish shadow of its former self (the number of employees with jobs earning less than €1000 went from 10% in 1991 to 18% in 2002). The younger propertyless (and increasingly childless) generation feel as if they shouldering the burden of economic reform more than anybody else. The fact that like much of the youth in Old Europe they have been educated up to their eyeballs only makes them feel their fates with sharper pain.

Nevertheless Matteo, Alessio, Rossella and Claudio can still find ways to get enjoyment and stimuli in life on a shoe-string budget.

The novel was originally published on the Internet, and has been downloaded in Italian 20,000 times.

(€1000 is about US$1260, £680, AUD$1680 or CAD$1420)

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