Lagioia makes his enthralling English-language debut, translated into dazzling prose by Shugaar.
Amid what is likely the most stirring passage ever written in all of literature about a gas station sky dancer, a naked, blood-covered woman emerges from the brush, stumbling past “tiny, fuzzy-winged creatures” that sway in the dark as though “tied to the moon’s invisible thread," and wanders onto the highway. This is Clara, eldest daughter of the Salvemini family of Bari, whose death that night is ruled a suicide by purported leap off a parking garage. Her half brother, Michele, with whom Clara cherished an almost supernatural bond as a child, born of an affair and incompletely absorbed into the family when his mother died in childbirth, is plagued by suspicions about his sister’s death. “In the intricate forest of grief, a path emerges,” and, as Michele questions his flatly dismal past and his father’s motives, a deep substratum of insidious corruption and habitual degradation emerges, threatening not only the tenuous stability of the Salvemini family, but the very ground beneath their feet. Beware comparisons to popular modern family sagas: this is a complex novel, intricately orchestrated and, above all, inventively composed. The past and present pile up and fuse, dissolve, reunite, with characters living present action and recalled memory all at once; a single action may be refracted and revisited from several vantage points, filtered through various characters' perceptions. Grammatical subjects flip abruptly from one line to the next, and it is only through Logioia’s often virtuosic character development that the attentive reader will remain oriented to the progression of events. Not recommended for the casual reader (or easily scandalized), but those who persevere will be swept up in a rich and rewarding literary experience.
A mesmerizing exploration of failure, resilience, and profound, multifaceted loss.