Ogliano's Silences

Original title: Les silences d’Ogliano

Publication Date:

January 2022



Original language and publisher

French | Actes Sud

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia


Literary Fiction

Ogliano's Silences

Original title: Les silences d’Ogliano


Elena Piacentini, the author of thrillers, moves on to adventure and coming-of-age fiction and weaves a tense and complex plot where the reader’s attempts at anticipation are deftly directed and foiled. Her precise and evocative language captures the wild beauty of the landscape with as much finesse as the psychological nuances of characters who struggle to free themselves from the ancestral tradition of revenge and omerta in Mafia lands and who sometimes, courageously, succeed. — Véronique Cassarin-Grand, L’Obs

In three pages, the picture is set. It will be a tragedy. A withered Virginia creeper, the voices of the ones who are gone, the undulating flight of a rook. And the uncovered shutters of the pink villa whose former splendor has been devoured by brambles. Elena Piacentini is Corsican, but her universe embraces the whole of the Mediterranean south, burnt by the sun and weighed down by a dazzling art of secrecy… — Anne Quéméneur, Sud-Ouest

With perfect stylistic mastery, Elena Piacentini makes appear, under cover of murders and chases in a majestic setting, the need for revolt, but also for nuance and doubt. The pleasure of reading is increased by the relevance of the subject. — Pascale Fauriaux, Groupe Centre-France

With her beautiful language, [Piacentini] shows us the implacable destiny of the inhabitants of a majestic setting, made of austere mountains and mysterious caves, almost dreamlike. […] Teenagers guide the reader through this harsh and captivating tale […] The reader is caught up in the strong and bewitching breath of this novel. — Letizia Boniface, Arts & Métiers Magazine

“I, Libero Solimane, the son of Argentina Solimane and her alone, and the grandson of Argentu Solimane, the last of the goatherds. I was born up there.” Up there is the Argentu massif above Ogliano, a village imagined by the author and one of the book’s main characters, concealing one of the darkest secrets of several generations of men and women.

The party is in full swing at the Villa Rose to celebrate the graduation of Raffaele, the young heir of the wealthy Delezio family. Everyone is reunited for the occasion except for Argentina, the mother of the novel’s main protagonist Libero. There’s Baron Delezio; his wife, the young and divine Tessa on whom everyone’s eyes are trained; César, the former carabiniere turned jeweler, who is like a father to Libero; and the many other guests. But the festivities are cut short by the discovery of the lifeless body of ‘Herminia the Madwoman’ in the little chapel on the estate. And the next day, the baron’s son is abducted. Libero risks his own life as he sets out to find and free the young man who is in love with Antigone, traversing the high plains of Argentu and penetrating the depths of the fairy grottos. The quest transforms him and he emerges from it more a man than a teenager, consumed by desire and passion. And he also final discovers his father’s identity, which Argentina had hidden from him all these years by claiming that he was dead. Can he bring himself to accept his long line of descent?

Les silences d’Ogliano is an adventure novel full of devouring passions, heavy secrets, and questions of honor and dignity. It is also the tale of the advent of adulthood and the grand awakening of the senses that comes with it, as well as a story of the injustice of being born into one clan rather than another, of belonging to one class and line of descent rather than another, and of the desire to change the world. It is a true mosaic: a fresco of human society and of characters who have suffered too long from the code of silence imposed by their families and their origins. And it is also the story of the village of Ogliano and those who live within its walls, and of the high plateaus, the cemeteries, the caves, and the grandeur of the landscapes.

Marketing Information

  • Winner of the prix de la Closerie des lilas 2022