cover image Ferocity


Nicola Lagioia, trans. from the Italian by Antony Shugaar. Europa (PRH, dist.), $18 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-1-60945-381-7

In Lagioia’s powerful novel, Clara Salvemini’s violent death is ruled a suicide, causing her estranged brother, Michele, to return to the family villa to investigate. Growing up, Clara was the only member of the family to treat Michele, a son of the patriarch’s mistress, with any kindness. His return reminds the family of their shame at his confounding childhood behavior, his stints in mental hospitals, and his very existence. As he tries to understand the family’s story of Clara leaping to her death, he discovers the rotten core of his father’s real estate empire that relies on bribery, shady accounting, and blackmail. In particular, the family’s most recent development of resort condos has fallen under suspicion for its environmental impacts and threatens to ruin all the Salvemini patriarch has worked for. Lagioia drifts between timelines as Clara’s family, lovers, and acquaintances slowly reveal how she drew them into the web of the Salveminis and how they witnessed her unraveling. This oblique kaleidoscopic approach allows the mystery to slowly and captivatingly resolve while offering a layered portrait of contemporary Italian life and the abuses of power that money can excuse. (Oct.)