Foreign rights sold: France: Philippe Rey; Germany: Wagenbach; W-English (World Editions)
“A solid architecture, an elegant and pervasive language, an uncanny story that subtly unsettles the reader. Claudia Petrucci crafts a wonderful debut novel.”
A striking debut sold at auction in Italy, Germany and France, that combines a twisty high-concept plot with a mature, self-assured and effortless writing. L’esercizio blends realism and some disorienting elements to explore the subject of identity, of self and self-representation, of what, for the better of the worse really defines us.
Giorgia and Filippo are a young couple in their late twenties living in Milan. Together they have a regular and dull life, made of repeated routines, their big dreams just left behind. He sees her as a fragile and tormented person; she has a troubled past but feels reassured by his normality. The subtle veil of stress surrounding them is pierced when Giorgia meets Mauro, an attractive theatre director she has already worked with, and a real supporter for her. He insists she comes back to the scenes, on stage, because he perfectly knows what makes her so talented: she is not really able to separate reality and fiction, her true self from the role she is playing. And then during the opening night of the show, she suffers a dramatic mental breakdown… the day after she is admitted to a psychiatric clinic. Outside, Filippo and Mauro start hanging out together. Rivals yet united by their mutual affection for Giorgia, they soon realize that there is a simple and tempting way to heal her: they can team up and write a script where she is the main character, where she can play herself, or – even better – a new manipulated version of herself, so that she can go back to life. Go back being “normal”, just slightly different. This is dangerous game and the outcome will be unpredictable. From the very beginning, set in a suburban neighborhood, the reader is hooked by a subtle and tenacious thread of tension that reach a climax during the night of première at the theatre and then remains under the surface… until Giorgia wakes up and “the exercise” starts…
Option on film /TV rights to The Apartment/Fremantle.
“L’esercizio is an outstanding novel on how we build our identity and elaborate the reality surrounding us… Claudia Petrucci’s debut belongs to a rare category of books: high-quality literary novels that can become great commercial successes.’” Susanne Schuessler, Wagenbach
“A stunning novel on manipulation.” Philippe Rey, Philippe Rey Editions
Claudia Petrucci (1990). Graduated in Modern Literature in Milan, she worked in Italy as a copywriter, web content editor and social media manager. She now lives in Perth, Australia. She works part-time as office manager and writes. She published short stories on Cadillac and minima&moralia. This is her first novel.