They married young. They were in love and desired independence from their families. As middle-age and family obligations set in and the world changed around them, their marital vows seemed to lose their meaning. When he left, she felt gripped by impotent rage; she burned with questions that had no answer. He moved to Rome and met a younger woman. She stayed with the kids in Naples, a city from which she felt a growing estrangement.
But the inescapable ties that bind us can be tenacious, stronger even than both the wounds inflicted by abandonment and the desire for freedom. But can betrayal ever be swept under the carpet? Is it possible to retrace one’s steps and regain what was lost? If so, at what price?
With the keen perceptiveness of John Updike and the raw honesty of Elena Ferrante, Domenico Starnone gives his readers a powerful short novel about the ties that bind, and mark us indelibly.
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.