Synopses & Reviews
Andrea Molesini's exquisite debut novel. winner of the prestigious Campiello Prize, portrays the depths of heroism and horror within a Northern Italian village toward the end of the Great War. While a family s villa is requisitioned by enemy troops, they are forced to intimately confront war s injustice as their involvement with its sinister underpinnings grows more and more complex.
In the autumn of 1917, Refrontoloa small community north of Venice is invaded by Austrian soldiers as the Italian army is pushed to the Piave river. The Spada family owns the largest estate in the area, where orphaned seventeen-year-old Paolo lives with his eccentric grandparents, headstrong aunt, and a loyal staff. With the battlefront nearby, the Spada home become a bastion of resistance, both clashing and cooperating with the military members imposing on their household. When Paolo is recruited to help with a covert operation, his life is put in irrevocable jeopardy. As he bears witness to violence and hostility between enemies, he grows to understand the value of courage, dignity, family bonds, and patriotism during wartime."
Italian author Molesini’s award winning debut novel is set during World War I amid the bitter fighting between the Germans and Italians in northern Italy in 1917–1918. Inspired by his great aunt’s wartime journals Molesini tells of the Spada family’s stoic efforts to survive the German occupation of their villa and their village of Refrontolo north of Venice. This is a powerful tale of endurance sacrifice love and war’s suffering and cruelty as the villa is looted village girls are raped and the resistance effort becomes increasingly risky. Paolo 17 years old lives at the villa with his grandparents his aunt Maria and their servants including the mysterious steward Renato. German soldiers are everywhere after the Italian army is routed. Frightened and starving Paolo his family and Renato devise a coded system for passing information to the Italian soldiers. They rescue a downed British pilot and spy on German generals but when an aristocratic Austrian major takes possession of the villa the Spadas’ resistance activities become even more vulnerable to betrayal. This is an excellent war novel as well as a powerful depiction of a family’s strength and mankind’s justification for war’s barbarity movingly told and full of vivid imagery. Agent: Marcella Marini Sellerio Editore. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."