Narrated against the background of Naples, which itself becomes a living character in this lush, atmospheric novel, and steeped in the city’s language and imagery, The House on Via Gemito is a masterpiece of contemporary Italian literature.
The modest apartment in Via Gemito smells of paint and white spirit. The living room furniture is pushed up against the wall to create a make-shift studio, and drying canvases must be moved off the beds each night. Federí, the father, a railway clerk, is convinced of possessing great artistic talent. If it weren’t for the family he has to feed, he’d be a world-famous painter. Ambitious and frustrated, genuinely talented but full of arrogance and resentment, his life is marked by bitter disappointment.
It's his first-born who, years later, will sift the lies from the truth to tell the story of a man he spent his whole life trying not to resemble.
Domenico Starnone is an Italian writer, screenwriter and journalist. He was born in Naples and lives in Rome. He is the author of thirteen works of fiction, including First Execution (Europa, 2009), Via Gemito, winner of Italy's most prestigious literary prize, the Strega.