Ferocity combines the suspense of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, the contemporary realism of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, and the fierce Mediterranean vision displayed in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet. At once an intimate family saga and a cinematic portrait of the moral and political corruption of an entire society, Ferocity is an ambitious, gripping work by Italy’s foremost literary novelist.
Bari, the 1980s. On a stifling summer’s night, on the outskirts of a southern Italian metropolis, the young socialite Clara Salvemini stumbles naked, dazed, and bloodied down a major highway. Clara is the daughter of real estate mogul Vittorio Salvemini, patriarch of one of the region’s most prominent families. Her death is immediately labeled a suicide. Her estranged half-brother, however, cannot free himself from her memory or the questions surrounding her passing, and the more he learns about Clara’s life, the more he uncovers the moral decay at the core of the Salvemini ascent to social prominence.
“Lagioia is one of the most interesting Italian authors alive today.”—Il Sole 24 Ore
“Lagioia brilliantly demonstrates the folly of his characters: rather than describing them from the outside, he constructs his narrative by oscillating unceasingly between past and future, premonition and regret.”—Emanuele Trevi, Corriere della Sera
“A story about family, about wealth, about Italians, about a humanity that is obscenely spent and confounded. A powerful, supremely well-crafted novel.”—Goffredo Fofi, Internazionale
“There’s something Balzacian about Ferocity (and something that puts one in mind of Franzen’s The Corrections). It digs beneath current events, inhabiting a zone that is more opaque and ambiguous than the nightly news.” —Paolo di Paolo, TuttoLibri
“Nicola Lagioia’s latest novel opens with a scene that is hypnotically, devastatingly beautiful.” —Massimo Onofri, Avvenire
One of Italy’s most critically acclaimed contemporary novelists, Nicola Lagioia has been the recipient of the Volponi, Straniero, and Viareggio awards, in addition to the Strega. In 2010 he was named one of Italy’s best writers under forty. He has been a jury member of the Venice Film Festival and is the program director of the Turin Book Fair. Lagioia is a contributor to Italy’s most prominent culture pages. He was born in Bari, and lives in Rome. Ferocity is his English-language debut.