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Can a love story survive the knowledge that all of us are replaceable in the life of the person living alongside us? A poignant debut novel that presents an unsolvable dilemma and touches the heart. A new, powerful voice that, as it reflects on the meaninglessness of our existence, is both romantic and disenchanted, with unexpected moments of lightheartedness. The protagonist of this story is thirty years old and about to get married. But a few days before the wedding, he is killed in a road accident. From that moment on, blocked in a suspended dimension, he recounts what happens to his companion without him, following her step by step from the moment she returns to the apartment they shared. Bit by bit, her initial, piercing pain turns into permeating melancholy and her life starts anew, in a new city, with a new job, with a new man, who she marries this time and with whom she has children. Until the day when, by now an elderly woman, she comes across an old photograph of herself with her first love and is overwhelmed by memories. In an intimate and emotional dialogue, speaking directly to the person he calls “the big-eyed girl”, the narrator alternates moments in a time that moves inexorably forward – even in his absence – with fragments of the past, of a relationship that seemed unique. But what if things didn’t exactly go that way? What if the protagonist hadn’t died and had only imagined or dreamed the events he is recounting? What would happen to their relationship, now that he has discovered that he isn’t indispensable in her life?By an up-and-coming author of contemporary theatre, the novel – with a compassionate and occasionally ironic gaze – reflects on the nature of relationships and their exclusivity, and shows our selfish and unspeakable desire for the world to end with us.


Emanuele Aldrovandi (Reggio Emilia 1985) is one of Italy’s playwrights whose works have been staged most often in recent years. His works have been translated and performed in English, German, French, Spanish, Polish, Slovenian, Czech, Romanian, Catalan, and Arabic. He has written and directed various short films, including Bataclan, which won a Silver Ribbon in 2021. This is his first novel.

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