Malacqua by Nicola Pugliese


Nicola Pugliese

The title of this fabulist novel (‘when things get bad’ in colloquial Italian) refers to a four day downpour of biblical magnitude, which acts as an extended metaphor for the maladministration and corruption of Naples in the seventies. Naples is seen as alive with the citizens' collective consciousness, described in cinematic detail with a torrent of words equal to the deluge, lending immediacy to what is a very absorbing reading experience.


In fact all that remained was to reconsider everything, really everything, from a perspective other than this one of waiting opened up by the rain. Waiting weighed on hearts like a gigantic press, fixed and inescapable, it fell with the harsh and determination of continuous reproach. And that was the third day of rain. The city of Naples was so disheartened that it choked back its playful melancholic streak and folded away its florid thoughts in a dark corner of the house, along with the rubber mattress and battered fishing tackle.

  • Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
  • My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
  • The Dubliners by James Joyce

Books with similar mood

The Winterlings

Cristina Sánchez-Andrade

The Russian Debutante's Handbook

Gary Shteyngart

Girls of Paper and Fire

Natasha Ngan

Empire of Sand

Tasha Suri

The Field of Blood

Denise Mina

The Great Stink

Clare Clark

The Executioner's Art

David Fine

The Housekeeper

Melanie Wallace

From Darkest Skies

Sam Peters

The Water Cure

Sophie Mackintosh


Naomi Novik

The Limits of the World

Andrew Raymond Drennan

Sharp Objects

Gillian Flynn


Mari Jungstedt

Tango for a Torturer

Daniel Chavarria

The Winter Queen

Boris Akunin

First Person

Richard Flanagan

The Ice

Laline Paull

Blue Murder at the Pink Parrot

Ruth Ramsden

The Drowning

Camilla Lackberg

Tiger Hills

Sarita Mandanna

Killing Time

Caleb Carr


John Biguenet

The Earthquake Bird

Susanna Jones

Buddha's Money

Martin Limon

Brixton Beach

Roma Tearne

Hunters in the Dark

Lawrence Osborne

Thin Air

Richard Morgan

The Den

Abi Maxwell

Welcome to Lagos

Chibundu Onuzo


Sarai Walker

Kiss Me First

Lottie Moggach

Isabel's Skin

Peter Benson

The Expats

Chris Pavone

The Shadow of a Smile

Kachi A Ozumba

The Electric Church

Jeff Somers


Doug Johnstone

La Belle Sauvage

Philip Pullman

The Power

Naomi Alderman

All the Birds in the Sky

Charlie Jane Anders

The Good Liar

Nicholas Searle


Victor Fox

The Silent Boy

Andrew Taylor

The Lemon Grove

Helen Walsh

Black Star Nairobi

Mukoma Wa Ngugi


Ed O'Loughlin

Harry, Revised

Mark Sarvas

The Gift

David Flusfeder

The Poison Arrow Frog

Christopher Wilkins