The Life of Those Who Remain

Original title: La vita di chi resta

Author: Bianchi, Matteo B.

Publication Date:

January 2023



Original language and publisher

Italian | Mondadori

Territories Handled

English (North America), Netherlands


Literary Fiction

The Life of Those Who Remain

Original title: La vita di chi resta

Author: Bianchi, Matteo B.


Writers who dare to live and become good enough to tell about it are rare and
precious. And Matteo is unique. La vita di chi resta is a masterpiece that sheds light on his entire journey. It’s an invaluable gift for the readers: it reminded me why many years ago I fell in love with books, the first time I read one in one sitting, that dizzying feeling of being in a place I’ve never been before. – Paolo Cognetti

When in 1999 thirty-year-old Matteo B. Bianchi made his debut with Generations of love, the scathing portrait of the sentimental education of a gay boy from the Italian province in the 1980s, there could be no worse timing: he had just lost S., the man with whom he had lived seven years and that one day, a few months after they broke up, decided to hang himself in their apartment.

Matteo is the first to find the body, to scream without being able to scream, in what he defines from the first moment: “the most tragic moment of my entire life”. From that day a “dark labyrinth” begins for him, a whirlpool of suffering, made up of contradictory feelings and constant bewilderment, which unites all the so-called survivors of the suicide of a loved one. Matteo seems to be the unhappy protagonist of a rare event as he feels a unique pain, perversely special. However, at the same time, even in the darkest days, the writer who lives in him starts taking notes. At first, they are just fragments, shards of an existence shattered into a thousand pieces, echoes of feelings alive like nerves that Matteo reports unabashedly on the page. Then, they slowly transform and, memory after memory, exhibit after exhibit, become a profound and intimate conversation with S. and the pain, between the temptation to let go and the desire to get back to life.

Both radical and vulnerable, intimate and universal, La vita di chi resta is a shattering but luminous, extraordinary novel about surviving the aftermath of trauma, and a testament to the redemptive power of storytelling. With stunning urgency and grace, Matteo B. Bianchi gives to us pages of excruciating beauty, recounting his journey to find redemption, hope, the possibility of rebirth, whilst showing how, even in the folds of the most unspeakable pain, writing can still save.