“Andrea Canobbio writes so well that you almost can’t see it, with a style, narrative structure and dry intelligence capable of summoning all armies to battle his father’s unspeakable depression.” La Repubblica
“My father’s fall and my mother’s reaction are at the origin of my writing.”
Motivated by the desire to rid himself of the memories that never cease to torment him, the narrator of this book decides to take a trip to his city, transformed for the occasion into a great theatre of memory. And as in any adventure worthy of the name, he equips himself with the magic weapons necessary for the feat: a map of eighty-one squares, a collection of love letters and some old diaries full of notes.
The city is Turin, the story is that of a post-war Italian couple, of their falling in love, getting married and living first happily ever after, and then unhappily ever after. They meet in 1943: he, an engineer officer and future engineer, has just returned from Russia. She loves music and poetry. They marry in 1946, they start a family. The years of reconstruction soon become the years of the economic miracle, which soon become the years of protest and crisis. The engineer, succumbing to melancholy, digs a personal tunnel where he remains trapped, trapping his wife and children as well.
Disseminating the fragments of time in the space of the city, the narrator investigates the mysterious reasons for the depression of the father. In the end, however, no reason seems sufficient to explain thirty years of irremediable sadness. He realises that it is precisely the most painful memories that allow him not to interrupt the dialogue with his parents – whom, after all, he does not want to make disappear from his life. In this crossing, the reader will choose whether to linger in the places of the familiar novel or venture on more unpredictable and hidden paths. Here he will encounter haunted houses, martyrs and relics, equestrian monuments, Swiss scales, Egyptian papyri, anthropologists and architects; and then white horses, pale foxes torpedo fish and many other animals. But having reached the last pages he will recognise the voices that ring out clearly between the lines: those of those who left, and he offers a last chance to meeting those who have remained.