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The two protagonists who are as different as chalk from cheese. The charismatic dare-devil Guido, though endowed with immense personal charm, and innate abilities as a leader of men (as well as being the darling of all the girls), is subtly flawed, and unable to match his own significant aspirations. Guido's prophetic idealism, and his frustrated attempts to escape his lower-class origins and change the world, nevertheless seem doomed to failure. He eventually writes a best-selling book, highly acclaimed by the critics, in which he condemns the social mores of the Italian seventies-corruption, terrorism, bombs and anarchy. Although, through his novel, he is initially acclaimed as a prophet of sorts, he predictably falls victim to vitriolic, self-serving critics who enjoy demolishing him. Eventually, despite his enormous talent, Guido will remain an eternal dreamer; whereas his closest friend who has always depended on him-the insecure narrator, Mario, always the more practical and circumspect of the two-will finally learn to actualize his own dreams, helping to change the world through actualizing his own dream of authenticity. Meanwhile, the alienated Guido will succumb to his own inevitable destiny.
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