Asleep in the Valley
Original title: Tutti dormono nella valle
Poised between autobiographical tale and fiction, the author shows us a temporal kaleidoscope of history and characters, governed by spontaneity and rare poetic maturity. In short, this is real literature. Destinies and personal events spanning sixty years starting from a valley in Northern Italy: Ginevra Lamberti orchestrates expectations, disappointments, tragedies, choosing a title that is a (reversed) quote from Edgar Lee Masters – A “Spoon River” of living in bottom of Northern Italy’s society. — Corriere della sera
Ginevra Lamberti challenges literary expectations and clichés about millennials. A family saga in which the family itself ends up shattered and torn apart. And this is her strength: sabotaging but without anger. — L’essenziale
Tutti dormono nella valle is an amazing novel by Ginevra Lamberti: a frozen valley in Veneto, harsh and primitive, a rebellion, a love story that bursts in the reader’s face and hurts a lot. A full-blown family saga. A complex novel, written with an original and luminous language that is not afraid to ask for commitment from the reader, but also gives him back in return all the guilty pleasures of the epic. Ginevra Lamberti has understood the importance of identity and claims its limits and flaws. She is an award-winning author, praised by critics, loved by the public, and translated abroad. She is a writer who doesn’t need to grow up because she is already such a mature and gifted writer who has understood the importance of identity. — Teresa Ciabatti
Ginevra Lamberti’s world is a borderline one in which the ancient peasant poverty mixes with the new social poverty and precarity. — La Nuova Venezia
A human cross-section that is both vivid and melancholic, passing the baton of history from one generation to the next. — Nadeesha Uyangoda
Ginevra Lamberti has one big flaw: she writes exceptionally. — Emanuele Trevi
One of the most interesting and talented young voices in Italian literature. Lamberti delivers a tale of family, generational conflicts, womanhood, and the life-long search for belonging.
Costanza is a eighteen years-old girl growing up in a seemingly unchanging world, a cold and narrow valley where the sun rises late and sets early. Her father, Tiziano, wanted a boy. Her mother, Augusta, wanted a doll. Unable to communicate, they all coexist rather than live in a yellow house surrounded by woods, fields, superstitions and rumors, old and new rites. Everything in the valley seems frozen in time and fiercely resists the wave of modernity as the roaring 70s are approaching.
Costanza wants to leave: she goes back and forth down the valley and takes all the temporary jobs she can to put distance between herself and the yellow house. She hitchhikes with her girlfriends, takes drugs and sleeps on floors. When she meets Claudio, who is already engaged to heroin, she realizes she has found her possibility of escape. The two of them, unaware of the future but involved in the present, begin to live together in Rome between adventures, pains, joys and even a child, the little girl who today, by now grown, tells this story.
Costanza and Claudio end up in the both famous and infamous San Patrignano’s drug recovery community, the largest in Europe, so successful in rehabilitating heroin addicts and yet so controversial for the extreme, sometimes inhumane, methods it uses to keep them in line. Like the valley, this little kingdom sort-of, governed by the all-seeing, all-knowing Big Guy, almost a cult leader, almost a god, quickly will become another place to run for.
Told with great scope and narrative density, Asleep in the Valley is a bold and original work that brilliantly explores, by always combining irony and compassion, the emptiness, estrangement, and desolation of the province and the complexities of human relationships. A new remarkable achievement for a rising, impressive author to watch.