The Life of Those Who Remain
Original title: La vita di chi resta
“A true writer like Matteo B. Bianchi uses writing as if it were magic, a real journey towards grace”. – Paolo Cognetti
“I have been waiting for a book like this for a long time . 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
“This story occurs between two people of the same sex: in several places the pain seems to be aggravated by the tensions linked to the social perception of homosexuality.” – Jonathan Bazzi – Sette Il Corriere della sera
“IN Reading “The Life of Those Who Remain” we discover that when pain is too strong, it has no face. It’s the same for everyone; it belongs to no one. “The Life of Those Who Remain” is a universal story, the story of every person who has gone through unspeakable pain. The inability to name that event, the sense of guilt, the constant search for help or the total escape from the rest of the world, the time that passes. And that time has passed for everyone, it really has passed, but it hasn’t passed for the “survivor”. Nevertheless, when all the survivors in the world immerse in these pages, they will find a universe just like theirs and they will surely feel less alone.” – Antonella Lattanzi – il Corriere della sera
“The life of those who remain” is an intense journey of survivors, victims in almost the same way but still alive, still exposed to torment. Nobody ever talks about it. There are no therapy groups to help them deal with feelings of guilt and emptiness, that feeling of disorientation and detachment from reality. They are like sleepwalkers, prisoners of a perennial elsewhere.” – Maurizio Crosetti – la Repubblica
“What happens to the parents, children, partners of those who decide to leave? The pain, the disorientation, the sense of guilt and that terrible doubt: could I have done something? Unlike other types of mourning where you know that there is nothing you can do, here instead, you have the suspicion that something could have been done. Suicide is still a taboo in all cultures because it touches our deepest essence: the rejection of life.” – Donna Moderna
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.
- English sample available