Things Happen

Angelo Cannavacciuolo

€ 14.00
Publisher: Cairo Editore
Pages: 256
ISBN/EAN: 9788860521637

Michele Campo has an awkward past: a poverty-stricken childhood in Acerra, a father who, before finding a job as a porter in the wealthy part of Naples, lived by expedients, a melancholy mother, a tireless seamstress who has kept a secret for many years.

Michele, now forty, is a highly regarded speech therapist and has a stable relationship with lovely, wilful Costanza, the scion of an upper middle class family, when the past he thought he had left behind returns to settle accounts. It happens unexpectedly. Struck by the look of hate in the eyes of Martina, a five year old in a foster home by the Minors’ Tribunal, his life goes off the rails. His devouring interest in this desperate, bitter child drags him into a fatal series of events that, accompanied by continual plot twists, unwinds through the labyrinth of his memories. And despite the social status gained with tenacious anger, the call of his origins, blind and ineluctable as fate, risks overwhelming him.

But perhaps Things Happen is first and foremost a Neapolitan novel that courageously delves into the moral and material degradation of the city. A novel that narrates with pity and disdain the two Naples: Naples of the districts like the Vele, that live off illegal daily traffic that is inevitably in collusion with the micro- and macro-criminality, that are bereaved of hopes and rights; and the other Naples, deaf and indifferent, of a middle-class hidden in the castle of its privileges, deprived of any solidarity or civil conscience.

Michele knows both well: he was born in the first, and he wanted to belong to the second at any cost. In order to succeed, he chose a kind of existential asthenia, far from the noises of life. But now when things have happened, when he has listened to the call for help of the defeated, the roots that he had extirpated so violently return to the surface. And Michele will find that he must choose between a carefully planned life and the dizziness of the unknown, between memory and oblivion.

Text by
Angelo Cannavacciuolo, born in Naples in 1956, began as an actor and is a screenwriter for cinema, TV and theatre. His previous novels are Guardiani delle nuvole (1999; finalist for theViareggio-fiction and Berto Prizes), Il soffio delle fate (2002, finalist for the Elsa Morante Prize), and Acque basse, (2005). Guardiani delle nuvole became a film in 2004 directed by Luciano Odorisio and interpreted by Alessandro Gassman, Claudia Gerini, Franco Nero and Anna Galiena. An opera was based on Il soffio delle fate, and his play Oratorio di speranza set to music by maestro Filippo Zigante, was presented in Germany at the Vorpommern Theatre.

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