Filed in the following archives
Translated by Jhumpa Lahiri
Imagine a duel. A face-off between a man and a boy.
The same blood runs through their veins. One, Daniele Mallarico, is a successful illustrator at the peak of his career. The other, Mario, is his four-year-old grandson who has barely learned to talk but has a few tricks up his loose-fitting sleeves all the same. The older combatant has lived for years in almost complete solitude. The younger one has been dumped with a grandfather he barely knows for 72 hours.
Starnone’s sharp novella unfolds within the four walls (and a balcony!) of the apartment where the grandfather grew up, now the home of his daughter and her family, where the rage of an aging man meets optimism incarnate in the shape of a four-year-old child.
Lurking, ever present in the conflict, is the memory of Naples, a wily, violent, and passionate city where the old man spent his youth and whose influence is not easily shaken.