The Houses of Discontent

A great love story inside a dark, almost Gothic, fairy tale in rural Italy.

The return of Samuel Radi gives a jolt to the monotony of life in the country, stirring curiosity and resentment. The inhabitants of Le Case begin to tell the suggestions they have of him, of his past. But above all, they begin to tell their stories, as in a sort of long confession. This opens a dense web of intrigue and secrets that opens to the reader’s eyes the rooms of the village, where for so long the lies and horrors remained well hidden in everyday life, made mostly of appearances.

Around there is the region Maremma: the anger, the despair, the difficulty and the blood of a difficult land. But also the tenacity, the search for a better feeling.

In The Houses of Discontent is the legacy left by brigands and charcoal burners, miners and soldiers of all sides. In a network of plots and subplots, they present the legacies of that past, that still contaminates the life of all of them today.

The discontent of the rural houses is an epic, but at the same time universal. A microcosm-macrocosm that embodies the universal elements of human life: birth, death, sex, hunger, war … A choral novel, taking the road of pure literary fiction, with elements of crime, of psychological thriller, Gothic, historical memoir, dark fairy tale. All of it wrapped up in a great love story.

pp.400 ca.

Rights sold: Italy [E/O]

Yesterday I finished reading The Houses of Discontent, and I confirm what I anticipated the other day: I found this book not only beautiful, but also important. Beautiful because it’s a language full of dialectical streaks but at the same time high, I dare say classical, it combines the structure of a successful choral novel where all the characters from the first to the last and each with their own “voice” and function rotate around the protagonist, the Maremma village of Le Case, the element that gives the book a fundamental and meaningful unity, making it a rural epic but at the same time universal (in the same days I was reading a book by Kent Haruf who encompasses all of his novels in Holt, a rural Colorado town. His intent is also to represent a microcosm-macrocosm that contains the universal elements of human life: birth, death, sex, hunger, war, etc. Trust me on the word, between Holt and Le Case there is no comparison). And it is important because the author enters into a noble and very provincial (apparently paradoxical) current of Italian literature, the one that is not solipsistic and self- eferential but on the contrary permeated and inspired by the passion to take charge of its cultural traditions in which the writer is an intellectual who has a critical look on our history, society, its limits, and contradictions, but at the same time he is able to tell the events of individuals with great effectiveness.

– C.C., Editor

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Genre: Fiction, Literary Fiction