The international bestseller and winner of the Campiello Prize for Literature—“Moving and lyrical writing . . . Belongs in the canon of great war fiction” (Paste Magazine).
Andrea Molesini’s exquisite debut novel portrays the depths of heroism and horror within a Northern Italian village toward the end of World War I. While a family’s villa is requisitioned by enemy troops, they are forced to intimately confront war’s injustice as their involvement with its sinister underpinnings grows more and more complex.
In the autumn of 1917, Refrontolo—a small community north of Venice—is invaded by Austrian soldiers as the Italian army is pushed to the Piave River. The Spada family owns the largest estate in the area, where orphaned seventeen-year-old Paolo lives with his eccentric grandparents, headstrong aunt, and a loyal staff. With the battlefront nearby, the Spada home becomes a bastion of resistance, both clashing and cooperating with the military members imposing on their household. When Paolo is recruited to help with a covert operation, his life is put in irrevocable jeopardy. As he bears witness to violence and hostility between enemies, he grows to understand the value of courage, dignity, family bonds, and patriotism during wartime.
“Wonderfully alive—often terribly so—as a wartime adventure and story of youth arriving at manhood.” —The New York Times Book Review
“War and Peace meets The Leopard in a novel set among Italian aristocrats during the Great War . . . Rich and moving.” —The Wall Street Journal