The same blood runs through their veins. One, Daniele Mallarico, is a successful illustrator at the peak of his career. The other, Mario, is his four-year-old grandson who has barely learned to talk but has a few tricks up his loose-fitting sleeves all the same. The older combatant has lived for years in almost complete solitude. The younger one has been dumped with a grandfather he barely knows for 72 hours.
Starnone’s sharp novella unfolds within the four walls (and a balcony!) of the apartment where the grandfather grew up, now the home of his daughter and her family, where the rage of an aging man meets optimism incarnate in the shape of a four-year-old child.
Lurking, ever present in the conflict, is the memory of Naples, a wily, violent, and passionate city where the old man spent his youth and whose influence is not easily shaken.
“[Ties] glints and cuts like smashed crystal.”
“Absolutely gripping from start to finish... a really stunning book.”
Domenico Starnone was born in Naples and lives in Rome. He is the author of thirteen works of fiction, including First Execution (Europa, 2009), Via Gemito, winner of Italy’s most prestigious literary prize, the Strega, and Ties (Europa, 2017), a New York Times Editors’ Pick, and The Sunday Times’ best novel in translation of 2017.