An absorbing family saga taking place over four decades and centered on the Tuscan island of Giglio—a seemingly idyllic place where the story of two sisters and the history of Italy meet in unexpected, transformative ways.
A tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean with less than a thousand inhabitants. An older sister, a combative mother, a hedonistic father, a grandmother who fought in the Resistance, a wild little brother. These are the people and the place that Teresa—the younger daughter and narrator—tries to escape from, eager to find a place in the world that she can call her own.
But soon enough she’ll have to reckon with the island, with the bittersweet distance separating her from her beloved yet domineering sister, and with the long shadow of the darkest moments in Italian history. Guided by nostalgia for the long, bright summer that was her childhood, Teresa will have to confront her condition, perceived or real, as the “lesser” one—accepting herself and rediscovering what she thought she had to escape from.
Between a coming-of-age novel, a family saga, and a parable on the last forty years of Italian history, Lorenza Pieri’s novel is an intense and luminous book, in which language has the magnetic force of the stark, beautiful landscape that has inspired it.
“A luminous voice, of the likes of Elsa Morante and Elena Ferrante.”—Vanity Fair
Lorenza Pieri is an author, journalist, and translator. She grew up in Tuscany and spent long periods in Paris, Turin, and Rome, where she worked in publishing. She lived for eight years in Washington D.C., where she continued to write about politics and culture for a variety of outlets. Lesser Islands (Europa, 2023) was the winner of numerous prizes and has been translated into six languages. The Garden of Monsters (Europa, 2020) was a finalist for the Strega Prize. Pieri now lives in Milan.