Michele Mari


At the tail end of the 1960s, the thirteen-year-old Michelino spends his summers at his grandparents’ modest estate in Nasca, near Lake Maggiore, losing himself in the tales of horror, adventure, and mystery shelved in his grandfather’s library. The greatest mystery he’s ever encountered, however, doesn’t come from a book – it’s the groundskeeper, Felice, a sometimes frightening, sometimes gentle, always colourful man of uncertain age who speaks an enchanting dialect and whose memory gets worse with each passing day. When Michelino volunteers to help the old man by providing him with clever mnemonic devices to keep his memory alive, the boy soon finds himself obsessed with piecing together the eerie hodgepodge of Felice’s biography . . . a quest that leads to the uncovering of skeletons in Nazi uniforms in the attic, to Felice’s admission that he can hear the voices of the dead, and to a new perspective on Felice’s endless war against the insatiable local slugs, who are by no means merely a horticultural threat.

And yet nothing could be more fascinating to Michelino than Felice’s own secret origins. Where did he come from? Is he the victim or the villain of his story? Is he a noble hero, a holy fool, or perhaps the very thing that Michelino most wants and fears: a real-life monster.

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Domenico Starnone gave the following answer in response being asked by I-Italy, ‘If you were to give a book award to a living Italian writer, man or woman, whom would you pick and why?’:

‘Many of my friends, men and women, are good writers whom I’ve been following for years and for whom I have high regard and affection. It would be difficult for me to give an award to this one rather than that. But I want to name a writer I don’t know personally, and yet I’ve been reading his books with pleasure because they are outside the box. I’m referring to Michele Mari.’

You can read Michele Mari’s interview with the New Yorker about You, Bleeding Childhood here.

Print status: Pre-order
Author: Michele Mari
Translator: Brian Robert Moore
Original language: Italian
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 2 January 2024
ISBN: 9781913505905
Ebook ISBN: 9781913505912
Availability: World English
Number of pages: 224