A prismatic novel that records the indelible marks a mother leaves on her son after she abandons their home in Italy for a business she’s building in Romania. Lorenzo, just a young boy when his mother leaves, recalls the incisive fragments of their life – when they would playfully wrestle each other, watch the sunrise, or test out his mother’s newest scientific creation. Now a young man, Lorenzo travels to Romania for his mother’s funeral and reflects on the strangeness of today’s Europe, which masks itself as a beacon of Western civilization while iniquity and exploitation run rampant. With elliptical, piercing prose, Bajani tells a story of abandonment and initiation, of sentimental education and shattered illusions, of unconditional love.
Andrea Bajani is an Italian novelist, journalist, and poet whose work has been translated into many languages. His novel, Ogni promessa ( Every Promise), won the oldest and most prestigious Italian literary award, the Bagutta Prize. His collection of short stories, La vita non è in ordine alfabetico, won the Settembrini Prize in 2014. Se consideri le colpe ( If You Kept a Record of Sins) won the Super Mondello Prize, the Brancati Prize, the Recanati Prize, and the Lo Straniero Prize. He teaches at Rice University in the Department of Classical and European studies.
THE TRANSLATOR: Elizabeth Harris’s translations from Italian include Mario Rigoni Stern’s Giacomo’s Seasons, Giulio Mozzi’s This Is the Garden, and Antonio Tabucchi’s Tristano Dies, For Isabel: A Mandala, and Stories with Pictures. Her prizes include a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant, an NEA Translation Fellowship, The Italian Prose in Translation Award, and the National Translation Award for Prose.