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The true story of a compulsive gambler, an unbridled tale of addiction that touches everything from slot machines to sexual and personal relationships, the protagonist’s father, and even her dog. A magnificentand heartrending novel about contemporary emotional and material addictions.At the age of forty-one, and while living a full life, a woman decides to save her father – a lawyer and pathological gambler. But saving her father means stepping into the world of slot machines: a windowless setting where it’simpossible to distinguish night from day or winners from losers, with every win being reinserted into the machine. When, by chance, you beat the machine, you only want to win more; and if you lose money, you keep playing to try and make it back. Soon, the daughter who tried to save her father has to protect herself from the gambling disease. In only a couple of years, she is dragged down into a maelstrom. Love interests, friends, colleagues, family, and her own body: the fever attacks and erodes every part of her. Her whole life is shaped by gambling: she spends her summer vacations at the casino in Kranjska Gora, her love affairs are poisoned, she destroys happy memories from the past and steals gold heirlooms from her mother, selling them off for a fistful of cash to squander at the slots one frenzied afternoon.Salvation comes via the twelve-step program of gamblers anonymous, with every relapse becoming more difficult, always chipping away at something deeper, triggering nervous breakdowns that require hospitalizations in psychiatric clinics, overshadowed by grief. And therein lies the strength of Azzardo: it is a magnificent and heartbreaking novel about the emotional and material addictions inherent in contemporary life and a tale that is not afraid to explore what makes us most human – our weaknesses.

Alessandra Mureddu lives and works in Rome. This is her first novel.