Paola Mastrocola
Non so niente di te (I Know Nothing of You)
A novel, Einaudi, March 2013, 334 pages

“The irony on the moral crisis of our society discloses surreal and fairy effects.”

“In Paola Mastrocola’s new novel, the questions that parents do not dare to ask to their children.”
Vanity Fair 

Does anyone have the life they want?

One November morning, in the auditorium of one of the most prestigious colleges at Oxford, hundreds of people are waiting for a conference to get under way. After some minutes – amid a general silence – dozens and dozens of sheep walk in. White, wooly, bleating calmly. They are led by Filippo Cantirami, a young Italian economist, who, as if nothing unusual has taken place, begins his lecture about the market crisis. This is the opening scene of Paola Mastrocola’s new novel.With a tone alternating from ironic to reflective and even that of a fairy tale, she gradually gives form to a story that can be read in a single breath, one which leaves a lasting echo.
That incredible invasion of sheep will deeply distress Cantirami’s parents and cause them anguish, as they are convinced that their model son is at Stanford finishing a doctorate. What’s Fil gotten into? Where has he really wound up? And who is his friend Jeremy, with whom he’s sealed some sort of pact? What have the two young men exchanged? And what’s their secret?
Everyone is looking for an answer – even his sister and his fascinatingly distracted aunt Giuliana. Everyone is following their own trail of clues, conducting their own investigation, traveling from one continent to another, or simply within themselves, until they discover that in all likelihood, despite the deepest feelings that bind them all, they each know very little about the other. The elusive Fil seems to have vanished into thin air.
And in the background there is the crisis of our times. But it’s told from a distance, the way the present would been seen from half a century into the future.
Filippo Cantirami, Mastrocola’s young revolutionary, is a privileged young man, an inconvenient type in this day and age. And yet he’s the one – by virtue of his thoughts, silences, gestures and choices – who page after page opens up to the dream of a different life. A dream that brings us to the idea of time and the possibility of putting it into question, rethinking it. It’s a dream that begins with the buzz of a hornet and ends with the quest for a freedom that each one of us would like to achieve – even at the cost of giving something up.

Paola Mastrocola

Paola Mastrocola - © Basso Cannarsa

Paola Mastrocola was born and lives in Turin. She has a very special voice among Italian contemporary writers and bestseller authors. She is the author of La gallina volante (2000, Premio Calvino), Palline di pane (2001), Una barca nel bosco (Premio Campiello 2004), La scuola raccontata al mio cane (2004), Che animale sei? (2007), Più lontana della luna (2007), La felicità del galleggiante (2010), Togliamo il disturbo. Saggio sulla libertà di non studiare (2011), Non so niente di te (2013), L’esercito delle cose inutili (2015), La passione ribelle (2015), Lanno che non caddero le foglie (2016), L’amore prima di noi (2016), Leone (2018), Diario di una talpa (2020), La saggezza del lupo (2020), Se tu fossi vero (2021), Il danno scolastico (con Luca Ricolfi, 2021), Manifesto del libero pensiero (con Luca Ricolfi, 2022), La memoria del cielo (2023). Her books have been translated in France, Germany, Spain and Latin America, Portugal, Turkey and Japan.

“The hardest investigation: how to know our children.”
Corriere della Sera 

“The irony on the moral crisis of our society discloses surreal and fairy effects.”

“In Paola Mastrocola’s new novel, the questions that parents do not dare to ask to their children.”
Vanity Fair 

“A convincing comedy of misunderstanding, able to balance the figure of the boy and the family’s alarms.”

“A beautiful novel about expectations and truth, about what we really are and what other people expect from us.”
Io Donna

“With grief and tenderness Mastrocola goes deep into that area of lack of knowledge which any parent is forced to.”

“Mastrocola explores the art of fiction with energy and determination… alternating an ironic and openly fairy tone, with information, knowledge and moral issues.”
Il Messaggero

“Insights into economy, society and cultural loneliness in a complex story written with a special grace… As a Dostoevskij’s progressive, Filippo Cantirami chooses moral resistance instead of street protest.”
Corriere della Sera

Foreign rights sold in
Germany: Carl’s Books
Turkey: Doğan Kitap

Italian and international editions

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