Watching Over Her
Original title: Veiller sur elle
A sweeping romance story spanning across the 20th century, between two unconventional characters that can neither love nor leave each other.
August 1986, in an Italian monastery. A man breathes his last breath as the monks watch over him. For forty years, he has lived among them, to “watch over her.” She is his last work, a statue that disturbs all those who see it, but whose origin story remains a secret. During his last hours, the man dives into the story of his life. His apprenticeship with an alcoholic and brutal sculptor, on the Pietra d’Alba plateau, stronghold of the powerful Orsini family. And above all, his meeting with Viola, the only daughter of the Orsini family, who takes a liking to this sculptor who is abnormally small, but with the hands of a genius, and a free mind.
From their first encounter as teenagers, Viola and Mimo will go through the first half of the 20th-century side by side, witnessing the rise of fascism and the unrest of world wars. He becomes a prodigy artist sought by the elite, she tries relentlessly to pursue her dreams as an emancipated woman. Both will lose and find each other time and time again, as friends or enemies, without ever giving up on their relationship.
An ample yet perfectly paced plot, that explores feelings of friendship and love with great finesse. A beautiful portrait of a woman striving for freedom and the only man who understands her.
The spectacular return of Jean- Baptiste Andrea, awarded with 17 literary awards and followed by tens of thousands of readers.
“Will you walk me to the road?” She gave me her hand, and I took it. And just like that, in one single step, we crossed the unfathomable barriers of class and conventions. Viola gave me her hand and I took it, an exploit that no one speaks of, a silent revolution. Viola gave me her hand and I took it, and at that very instant I became a sculptor. I wasn’t aware of this change, of course. But it was at that moment, palm in palm, under the cabal of trees and owls, that I welcomed the intuition that there was something worth sculpting.
- English sample available
- Included in the 10 Favorite Books Chosen by Independent Booksellers list for 2023’s rentrée littéraire