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I'm reading Carofiglio's book, "Né qui, né altrove", but seem to be stuck in the meaning of the first sentence of this paragraph. Can someone tell me if my translation is close to meaning? I have written the whole paragraph for a better understanding of what the writer wants to say.

"Come si fossero dati un cenno d'intesa, un sacco di personaggi in cerca di autore o perlomeno di prima occupazione, possibilmente non faticosa e che consentisse di rimorchiare, si scatenarono nell'apertura di ogni tipo di locali e ritrovi notturni, quasi tutti realizzati come variazioni sul tema: circolo alternative di sinistra, ma aperto alla città."

"As they may be given a sign of understanding, a lot of people in search of an author, or at least, in the early stage of the occupation, possibly not tired and open to communication, went wild with every opening of all types of places and nightspot, almost all of which were like variations of the same theme, an alternative society of evil, but open to the city."

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A prima occupazione is simply the first job one person gets in their life, generally after finishing school. So, your characters are looking for an author (an allusion to Pirandello's Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore) or, at least, for a first job.

In the rest of the text, there are a few points you seem not to understand correctly. For instance:

  • Come si fossero dati un cenno d'intesa means more or less “just like they exchanged a nod of complicity”;
  • faticoso is “tiring”, not “tired”;
  • rimorchiare in this context means “to pick up” (as in “to pick up a girl in a bar”);
  • circolo alternative di sinistra should read circolo alternativo di sinistra and means “left-wing radical club”.

Might I suggest that you work on your Italian comprehension on some easier text?

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    Alternative can also be correct; it is a quite common term between young people. – Lonidard Dec 26 '15 at 21:37
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    Do you mean, “alternative” in English to express Italian “alternativo”, @bharb? Thanks, I wasn't sure about it. – DaG Dec 26 '15 at 22:18
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    Exactly. It comes from musical language: often listening to alternative rock is stereotypically correlated with being left winged, at least here in Italy! – Lonidard Dec 27 '15 at 9:29

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