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Original title: There are no Faraway Places
From the author of La manutenzione dei sensi, an exciting new novel about the power of friendship.
The natural world is at the center of this delicate and moving novel about an unlikely couple taking a trip through Italy during one of the bloodiest periods in the country’s history.
Rome, April 1944. The archaeologist Filippo Cavalcanti is instructed by the government to go to Bressanone to oversee the expedition of some works of art destined for Germany. Arriving on the scene, the el-derly professor meets Quintino, a boy from Ischia sent to confinement in the Alps. Given Italy’s uncertain destiny, and the dangers looming over both of them, the two decide to run away and bring the works of art back to Rome with them.
During their adventurous journey from north to south, the two men, despite their very different personalities and social standing, get to know and even to respect each other. Thanks to Quintino’s practical skills and Cavalcanti’s wisdom, the two fugitives are able to escape various checkpoints and critical situations unscathed, encountering many obstacles along the road but also partisans, peas-ants, monks and ordinary people willing to help them in their enter-prise. Once they get to Rome, which in the meantime has been liberat-ed, they realise that also the Americans, just like the Germans, are shipping various works of art abroad: the two men thus decide to continue their journey down south, all the way to the island of Ischia, to save their precious cargo.
The story of a mutual distrust that slowly develops into a life-saving friendship during a journey packed with dangers. In their attempt to complete their mission at all costs, the two men hide out in the woods, find shelter in remote monasteries and come across people struggling with war, poverty and deprivation, during one of the darkest times in Italy’s history. The two men’s voyage brings them all the way from the north to the south of the country passing through the Apennines, a site of violent clashes but also of great silence and solitude.