Top positive review
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Life as it is - plain, human, real - the finest kind of art
on 6 June 2003
This is quite simply one of the most poignant and reflective books I've read, precisely because it lacks the "melodrama" or "plot" that are the pre-requisites of most novels and...which are totally absent in most peoples' lives. Shorn of these constraints it becomes a quite brilliant exploration of a "normal" person: so skilfully written that you are subtly and compelling drawn into it and, by the end, feel you know the central character (Pietro) inside out. Sequenced as a series of "random" snapshots (with each chapter moving backwards & forwards through time, with no obvious structure) its end effect is like looking at a good friend's photo album with the pages mixed-up in some sort of random order. Young to old/old to young; parents to children; hopes to reality, ecstatic infatuation to family life... it's all there: "life as it is - plain, human, real".
Clever, beautifully written and wholly effective this is "art" rather than popular fiction because, having read it, you'll feel that you'll know Pietro for the rest of your life. But... of course, he's not "real", you only want him to be. A rare feat of writing indeed!