Al Santamaria is a child prodigy, probably a genius, perhaps even the greatest mind of the twentieth century. It is not out of the realm of possibility that he, alone, will save the human race. But first he has to solve a far more urgent problem: finding a home for his family.
He exists, like many kids, somewhere between reality and fantasy, enjoying time with imaginary friends and wielding magical powers. He has a wonderful relationship with his father, Mario Elvis, and his mother, Agnese, and he’s convinced he has the best family in the world.
But life isn’t all roses for the Santamaria family. They are typical of many Italian families today; their lives seem suspended between conflicting impulses. They are puffed up with delusions of grandeur and outsized ambition, yet plagued by nostalgia for a golden age that never really existed. They are paralyzed by the inability to fully believe in their own dreams and hampered by the secret belief that a hero will soon come to their rescue. Reminiscent of the Malaussenes in the beloved series by Daniel Pennac, the Santamarias are the centerpiece in a detailed and wonderfully comic diorama of modern Italy.
Despite the challenges of modern life, however, Al is not about to give up. He has the energy, imagination, endurance, and enchanting unselfconsciousness of a child. And, although he doesn’t know it yet, he is going to remain a child his entire life.
We Are Family is a heartwarming and inspiring postmodern fable, the story of a modern-day Peter Pan, his everyday miracles, and the bittersweet joys of everyday life.
“Fabio Bartolomei recounts contemporary Italy with fantastic levity.”—La Repubblica
“As magical and fragile as a soap bubble.”—Elle Italy
“Visionary and unruly…”— Marie Claire Italy
“A story that doesn’t take itself seriously but addresses serious topics.”—The Daily Beast on Alfa Romeo 1300 and Other Miracles
Fabio Bartolomei was born and lives in Rome. He’s a writer, a screenwriter, and a teacher of creative writing. His debut novel was Alfa Romeo 1300 and Other Miracles (Europa, 2012) and with We Are Family, his second novel, he won the Elle Magazine Readers’ Grand Prize.