Nothing could be more radical than a breakup. But nothing is more lasting than those invisible ties, the laces that bind peo- ple one to another. An intense, truthful novel about the way we spend our lives breaking vases and glueing together the shards, and the primordial and subterrane- an forces that hold together marriages, long after love has ended.

Sandro and Anna are little more than chil- dren, but it’s been so long since they’ve seen their father that they can barely even re- member him. Four years have passed since he left home, abandoning them to a tempest of impotent rage, rancour, and unanswera- ble questions. The father is in Rome, enam- oured of the tender love of an unknown woman, while they’re in Naples with their fu- rious, solitary mother, pacing out the spread of silence and the growth of estrangement. What remains, when our world crumbles in- to dust? What are we willing to sacrifice, just to keep from feeling we’re caught in a trap? What do we lose, when we choose to re- trace our steps? At times, all it takes is a tiny act, a minor turn of events, to bring back everything we’ve tried to forget and set aside. Like a son who ties his shoelaces the same idiosyncratic way his father did, even though he doesn’t remember ever having learned that method from him. Domenico

Starnone gives us a moving, powerful story, the novel of an escape, a return, of all the failures that have ever been. Reminding us with every page that the time of reckonings is a useless time, absolute, ridiculous, and heartbreaking.

DOMENICO STARNONE (born in Naples in 1943) is an author of novels and short stories. With Feltrinelli he has published: Ex cattedra (1985 and 1989, later expanded into Ex cattedra e altre storie di scuola, 2006), Il salto con le aste (1989, republished by Einaudi in the “ET Scrittori” in 2012), Segni d’oro (1990), Fuori registro (1991), Eccesso di zelo (1993), Denti (1994), Solo se interrogato. Appunti sulla maleducazione di un insegnante volenteroso (1995), La retta via. Otto storie di obiettivi mancati (1996), Via Gemito (2000, Strega Prize and Napoli Prize in 2001), Labilità (2005, Castiglioncello Prize), and Prima esecuzione (2007). With Einaudi he has published Spavento (2009, Comisso Prize for 2010) and Autobiografia erotica di Aristide Gambía (2011). His books have been made into successful movies, including La scuola by Daniele Luchetti, Auguri professore by Riccardo Milani, Denti by Gabriele Salvatores, and the television series, Fuoriclasse.