STARRED REVIEW
July 2018

Secrets we keep and lies we tell

By Francesco Dimitri
Review by

Italian fantasy writer Francesco Dimitri makes his English-language debut with the masterful The Book of Hidden Things.

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Italian fantasy writer Francesco Dimitri makes his English-language debut with the masterful The Book of Hidden Things.

When three friends return to their small hometown of Casalfranco in southern Italy to honor a longstanding pact, their friend Art doesn’t show. This isn’t the first time he’s vanished—decades ago, Art walked between a grove of gnarled olive trees, shrieked and disappeared. When he returned a week later, his friends didn’t believe his story of having run away.

Always one for drama, Art has left a trail of mysterious stories in his wake. He’s growing and selling weed. He healed the daughter of a Mafia king. Even in his absence, Art’s alluring antics have a strong pull on his friends.

As they follow the clues to learn where Art has vanished to this time, Fabio, Mauro and Tony wrestle with their own demons. Fabio, a respected yet broke photographer, hates being thrust back into the town he’s outgrown. He learns that his father has Alzheimer’s, and he’s confronted with an unhealthy desire for Mauro’s wife. Mauro is underwhelmed with his status quo life and yearns for something more. And as Tony looks to his sister and her husband for answers about Art’s disappearance, he learns his sister isn’t the innocent girl he believed her to be.

The stark and sensual landscape of Casalfranco begs us to linger in its ancient and mystical hold. Through multiple perspectives, Dimitri weaves a tale of adventure, mystery, friendship and heart-wrenching beauty that will make you re-examine what is holy, what is true and what is beyond the realm of possibility.

 

This article was originally published in the July 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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The Book of Hidden Things

The Book of Hidden Things

By Francesco Dimitri
Titan
ISBN 9781785657078

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