The Hawthorne Season by Riccardo Bruni

Pre-pub courtesy of NetGalley Aug 14, 2018. Published by AmazonCrossing. Translated from the Italian by Hillary Locke.Hawthorne Season

Summary: A murder, a bridge accident, three cats, a teenage girl and a gnome. These five things appear to have little to do with each other but in the Hawthorne Season, almost nothing is as it appears to be.

Guilio Rodari, the artist/author of a children’s book series, is suspected of the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Patrizia Alberti. Guilio admits to stalking her and being completely obsessed with her, but he can’t believe he murdered her. Guilio has a problem because he has partial amnesia from a bad reaction to alcohol. He can’t remember anything during a four-hour period, the exact time Patrizia went missing. The police have a problem because they don’t have a body.

The authorities decide to put Guilio under house arrest while they gather evidence against him. Guilio is sent to stay with his mother at her hotel, which is closed for the season. But his seclusion is very permeable as people and information drift in and out of his dubious lock-up. With his guilt a foregone conclusion for the authorities, Guilio knows he must use whatever resources he can to recover his missing memories.

Comments: It took me a while to get into the rhythm of reading this book and I did lots of highlighting and jotting down of notes on my Kindle along the way. That served me well at the end of the book when all the various people and incidents came together in some completely unexpected ways. The book was well written, and the translation was clear, I was just nudged out of my fiction comfort zone.

There is a thread of fatalism that runs through the thinking of almost all the characters in this book. For them, it is pointless to buck the system and external forces always prevail. Those who don’t accept this are punished. The Hawthorne Season made me think about American/European cultural differences as expressed in modern literature. I’m glad it did.

4 out of 5 books for a smashingly good ending.

4 out of 5 books

#NetGalley #TheHawthorneSeason