Set over ten years in an unnamed town in the Maremma region of Southern Tuscany, this novel tells the story of two families against the backdrop of a rapidly transforming country. The Biagini are local ranchers, while the wealthy Sanfilippi belong to Rome’s upper middle-class. When Sauro, an ambitious rancher, and Filippo, a hedonistic politician, become friends and business partners, the stories of their families become irrevocably intertwined. As an influx of new money—and the excitement that comes with it—invests the town, political allegiances, family loyalties, moral codes, and sexual identities all begin to shift.
Sauro and Filippo, their wives Miriam and Giulia, and the sons Saverio and Luca are the prototypes of the new Italy, ostensibly emancipated from traditional mores, but at the same time, insecure and blinkered. Fifteen-year-old Annamaria, fragile and anxious, struggles to find her place among them and feels overshadowed by the beautiful and confident Lisa. Luckily, a parallel world is taking shape nearby, the Tarot Garden, the monumental sculpture garden created by the French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle. It is in this magical place, through her conversations with the artist, that Annamaria will slowly find a sense of identity and belonging.
Lorenza Pieri was born in Romagna but spent her childhood and teenage years in the small island of Giglio, off the coast of Tuscany. She studied in Siena and Paris and worked in publishing for fifteen years. In 2014 she moved to the United States, where she works as an author, journalist, and literary translator. Isole minori, her award-winning debut novel was published in Italy in 2016 and has been translated in five languages. This is her first book to appear in English.