Named Book of the Year by Elle magazine, this "Italian love story [is] destined to become a classic" (The Gazette).
Eva, a forty-year-old public relations professional living in Northern Italy, receives an unexpected message from Southern Italy. Vito, a man she briefly knew as a child as a friend of her mother's, is very ill and would like to see her one last time. He is a retired police officer who was stationed in the north during the late sixties, a period rife with tension, protest, and violence surrounding disputed land near the border with Austria. These troubles, however, did not stop a hapless young policeman from falling in love with the "wrong" woman, a girl named Gerda from Austrian Tyrol, an inventive and accomplished cook, a northerner, the sister of a terrorist-and Eva's mother.Vito's affair with Gerda was a passionate one, but what was the nature of their love? And if he loved her so passionately, why did he return to Calabria? What scars did those years leave on Vito, and on Gerda? It's time for Eva to find out, in this sweeping literary page-turner about family, forgiveness, and conflict, a bestseller in Italy now translated in English.
""This is a book that realizes the full implications of what it means to love."
—World Literature Today
"There are few Italian novels that so successfully and surprisingly combine broad themes like local and national history, or the relationship between the north and the south, together with the personal dramas linked to family, love, ambition. This is an epic novel!" —Solo Libri
"A powerful lyrical fresco in which personal and public histories are intertwined." —
Paola Contardi, jury of Elle's
Best Novel Prize
"This is a rich, intimate, and powerful story that is carried along by characters who are depicted in all their profundity and humanity." —
Arianna Rita Di Tomasso, jury of Elle's
Best Novel Prize
"Gerda’s story is a fascinating look at the political and cultural transformations within Alto Adige...Melandri captures the tension, loss, and patriotism of this region splendidly."
—Historical Novel Society