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Father, mother, Carlo, together in the car towards the sea. The usual sea. There is someone else with them, even if she is not there: the little sister inside Mummy’s belly. And there are some witty children who call her a whale, Mummy. Carlo is embarrassed and ashamed. And maybe, in front of that belly that attracts everyone’s eyes, he is even a little jealous, as the grown-ups say. Then there are the slightly brutal children, who will be his affliction for the whole holiday, or almost. And with them, in the enchanted world of the beach, the three little sisters, loyal and affectionate allies, the lifeguard, and the strange child they all call Spot, who is always alone and cannot float. And again the ball, the sand castles, the rocks, the swimming, the skating: the little big adventures of every summer, special for whoever experiences them. And another whale, emerging from the water to be seen by Carlo and only by him. But perhaps it was only a dream of water and sun. A measured, sober and subtle novel about a unique time, slow but also too fast, magical and at the same time so real.

Nicola Cinquetti is a writer and poet. In 2017 he was a finalist for the Strega Youth Prize with his story collection Ultimo venne il verme. His novel Il giro del ’44 was a finalist for the 2019 Laura Orvieto Prize. In 2020, he won the Andersen Prize for best author.