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Scauri, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, is the last town in Lazio, a place neither beautiful nor ugly, with its own dishevelled grace. Vittoria moved here in the seventies, arrived with Mara, perhaps adopted her, perhaps kidnapped her, many things are said. Vittoria, with her laugh that starts low and ends high, is an aloof and affable woman, welcoming and evasive; she has bought a house where everyone can come and go, she has opened a boarding house for animals when in the village the vets only care about cows and rabbits. Vittoria has never quarrelled with anyone, has never changed her haircut. Her generosity is inexhaustible, some of her habits have become common fashion. The village does not understand her, yet feels drawn to her.Vittoria is found dead in the bath, a stupid accident, an improbable end. The village accepts, because it understands misfortune and keeps silent, Lea Russo does not. Lea, who is a lawyer, has a husband, two daughters and a busy life, has always been fascinated by Vittoria. She does not want to settle for what she has always had before her eyes. She wants to understand how Vittoria died, and who she really was. What emerges of the woman, of her unsuspected past, pushes Lea Russo along a path on which it is difficult to advance, and from which it is impossible to turn back. Here she discovers the evanescence of identity, hers and everyone else’s. Here she discovers, without being able to count them, how many faces of violence there are. A black story of characters, an investigation into an unusual province, a portrait of women in constant mutation. In Chi dice e chi tace nothing ever stays still, passions, anxieties, truths and enigmas, the silences of the present and the din of the past: everything always moves, everything can always change.


Chiara Valerio was born in Scauri in 1978 and lives in Rome. She has published essays, novels and short stories, including: La gioia piccola d’esser quasi salvi (2009), Spiaggia libera tutti (2010), Il cuore non si vede (2019), La matematica è politica (2020), Nessuna scuola mi consola (2021), Così per sempre (2022), La tecnologia è religione (2023). With Sellerio Chi vince e chi tace (2024).

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