The Vietri Project

Nicola DeRobertis-Theye. Harper, $27.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-301770-2
A young woman evades her uncertain future by fixating on an elderly man in DeRobertis-Theye’s introspective if meandering debut. Two years after graduating from college, Gabriele works in a Berkeley, Calif., bookstore fulfilling the increasingly arcane mail orders of a Roman man named Giordano Vietri. At 25, anxious about marrying her boyfriend and with dwindling hopes for a “real job,” she flees to Rome, where she spent summers with her mother’s extended family in her early teens, and searches for Vietri. Her inquiries, helped by cousin Andrea and his fellow doctoral student friends, take her through a series of tangents: a painter whose famous memoir recounts time in Vietri’s home village; a widow whose husband served with Vietri during WWII; and a journalist who wrote a story about a pottery company named Vietri. As Gabriele mulls over the purpose of her quest, she frets about her mother’s schizophrenia diagnosis, which she received around the same age Gabriele is now, shortly before Gabriele was born. Gabriele’s gradual drift builds to a tentative conclusion, though the author’s tendency to rush past major details blunts the impact. While gracefully written, this circuitous bildungsroman only skims the surface. Agent: Julie Barer, the Book Group. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/11/2020
Release date: 03/23/2021
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-06-301772-6
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