by Domenico Starnone

Unless I'm mistaken, there aren't many books which explore the grandparent/grandchild dynamic, so hats off to this one. From the outset I knew the old man's mettle would be tested, Mario is a seriously precocious little boy. Conversely, Daniele's internal cogitating on identity, marriage, aging and art was almost as wearing as his grandson's demands to play. But, during the moments shared between man and child, the story really shines through.


Was he still playing around? It was unbearable that he was giving pretend answers. On the other hand, what did I expect, I was the one making the outlandish request. Asking a snotty-nosed kid to judge my work, asking him because I needed reassurance, enough, enough. I cut it short. OK, I said, now you make your drawing and I'll make mine. But he didn't like this idea, and we talked it over awhile. He'd gotten it into his head that we'd both draw, on the same sheet of paper, and it was tough persuading him that we each had to devote ourselves to our own work without bothering each other.


The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante
The Temptation to be Happy by Lorenzo Marone

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