"A Force of the Past" by Sandro Veronesi

A writer of children’s books, Gianni Orzan has his life under complete control.  He has just received an award of 15 million lire for his latest book, he is married to a beautiful woman and is father to an eight year old son.  While heading home from the award ceremony, he decides to take a ride home in an unlicensed taxi and suddenly his life turns upside down.  The taxi driver, armed with a pistol, turns out to not to be a mere stranger but someone who had known his father, who had recently died,  and begins to tell him about his father’s secret life as a spy for the KGB.  

 

This is the second novel I have read by Veronesi, the first being the more recent “Quiet Chaos.”  This novel isn’t as good as the latter but it is one hell of a novel nonetheless as you follow the narrator’s life as it slowly begins to unravel, forcing him to reexamine his life and just about everything he had ever known.  His storytelling ability is top notch, making you want to know what’s going to happen from one page to the next.  There is a semi-noir feel to this story, which seems to be a common element among a lot of contemporary Italian fiction these days.  Fast paced and insightful on many different levels, I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of modern Italian literature.  

 
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