The kid on the train

Original title: Il bambino del treno

Author: Casadio, Paolo

Publication Date:

January 2018



Original language and publisher

Italian | Edizioni Piemme

The kid on the train

Original title: Il bambino del treno

Author: Casadio, Paolo

  • 2 Seas Represents Dutch rights
  • Rights Sold: Germany (Hoffmann & Campe), Spain (Edhasa)
  • English sample available
  • Winner of the 2018 San Domenichino Literary Award, the Città di Massa Prize, the Crovi-Letteratura d’Appennino Award, the Cava de’ Tirreni Award and the Locanda del Doge PrizeFinalist of the Città di Arcore Prize, Città di Murex Prize, the Massa Città Fiabesca Prize


Is a story of people and places, protagonists capable of preserving innocence and simplicity. The intensity of the language and the ability of narration are the virtues of Paolo Casadio. Corriere della Sera

An uninterrupted coup de coeur, narrated with grace and a remarkable litterary style. But is first of all a superb love story, a story of survival, of scratched hands, of hard work and also a story of wonder and dismay. Il Foglio

In rural Tuscany the lightning of the Shoah. (…) An hypnotic narration. La Repubblica

The story of a father, a fascist stationmaster, and his race against time to reach the train his son – as a game, or perhaps for love – has boarded. A train bound for Auschwitz.

Giovannino Tini has passed the public exam to become a stationmaster, but – despite his misgivings – has been forced to join the PNF (The National Fascist party) to have a chance at a career. He starts his new job in the station of Fornello in June 1935, accompanied by his pregnant wife, a dog of uncertain breed and two bicycles which cannot be used because there is nowhere nearby to ride them: in the Apennine valley where the station sits there are only mule tracks and mountains. Three months later, their son Romeo is born, and the child grows up surrounded by deep snow, trains which pass through without stopping and the unchanging rhythms of nature.

The valley seems almost to have been forgotten by the regime. One evening in December 1943, however, a train unlike the others shatters their isolation. Aboard are men, women and children headed for Germany. Romeo meets Flavia, a Jewish girl who comes from far away, and an intense relationship springs up between the two, along with a powerful desire to be together. This is the reason why, the morning when the train departs, Romeo is accidentally boarded along with the other deportees.

Seventy years later the station is closed and the valley abandoned, and only one of Romeo’s friends remains to tell their story. With its powerful, refined style, The Kid on the Train accompanies the reader through the childhood of generation which was ruined by dictatorship, racial laws and war.

Paolo Casadio made his debut with the novel La Quarta Estate (Piemme, 2014), it won several literary Awards: the 17th Prix Ravenna, the National Dolphin Prize of Costa Pisana 2015, the International Montefiore Conca Award 2015, the International Award for a Debut Novel Cinqueterre-SirioGuerrieri 2015, the Jury Award of the International Prize “Città di Pontremoli 2016”, the Prize “Cattolica 2016”, the 30° Massarosa Prize for debut novel, the Carver Prize 2017 and the Francesco Serantini Prize 2017. Il bambino del treno has won in 2018 the San Domenichino Literary Award, the Città di Massa Prize, the Crovi-Letteratura d’Appennino Award, the Cava de’ Tirreni Award and the Locanda del Doge Prize, and it is a Finalist at Città di Arcore Prize, Città di Murex Prize, the Massa Città Fiabesca Prize.