La vita felice
Original version of CAN YOU HEAR ME?
“I knew nothing, back then, of the ways in which love can show itself, of the force with which it can push us into a corner and take our breath away.”
1978. Ponte, a small community in Northern Italy: peaceful woods, discarded rubbish, a closed-down factory. An unbearably hot summer like many others, wilted flowers and trips to the waterfalls. Elia Furenti is sixteen, living in a secluded house with his parents, a life so unremarkable that even its moderate unhappiness has been accepted as normal. That is until the day the beautiful, damaged Anna returns to Ponte and firmly propels Elia to the edge of adulthood.
But then everything starts to unravel.
Elia’s father, Ettore, is let go from his job and loses himself in the darkest corners of his mind.
A young boy is murdered, shaking the small community to its core. And a girl climbs into a van and vanishes in the deep, dark woods…
Cover © Tony Watson / Arcangel Images.
A beautiful and extraordinary novel.
Without a doubt one of the three or four best novels published in Italy in 2016. There’s great virtuosity, and control, but also great authenticity. This is a novel which confronts pain, and neither hides from it nor embraces it: it simply illuminates it, in just the right light, on every page.
A dark and tragic novel, written and structured with erudition and a rare sense of measure.
Varvello is an elegant storyteller, who knows how to build tension without breaking it.
A book to get lost in.
La Vita Felice is narrative gunpowder.