A spellbinding investigation of one of the most vicious crimes in recent Italian history and a journey into the darkest corners of Rome and of the human soul
“Fiction at its best – fiction that breathes life into the facts of reality.”—Domenico Starnone, Corriere della Sera
“Reading some books can be an experience as extreme as the story they tell . . . This is the case with Nicola Lagioia’s The City of the Living.”—la Repubblica
“A magnificent panorama of Rome, dark and rotting.”—Domani
In March 2016, in a nondescript apartment on the outskirts of Rome, Manuel Foffo and Marco Prato, two “ordinary” young men from good families, brutally tortured and murdered twenty-two-year-old Luca Varani. News of the seemingly inexplicable crime sent shockwaves across Rome and beyond. What motivated such extreme violence?
In the weeks and months after the crime comes to light, Lagioia conducts interviews, collects documents, meets with the victim’s family, and even starts corresponding with one of the killers. As it soon becomes clear, however, to investigate this crime means to descend into the dark heart of Rome.
Proceeding in concentric circles, Nicola Lagioia leads us through a maze of betrayed expectations, sexual confusion, inability to grow up, economic grievances, crises of identity—progressively tightening the focus of the analysis to locate the breaking point after which anything is possible.
Sharp, hypnotic, devastating: The City of The Living is an investigation not just of a crime but of human nature itself; of the tension between responsibility and guilt, between the drive to oppress and the desire to be free; of who we are and who we can become.
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.