Literary Fiction

La vita in tempo di pace

(Life in Peacetime)

Ponte alle Grazie, October 2013, pp.512

Over 30,000 copies sold

Prix Femina Selection

An extremely ambitious and fully-realized debut novel: La vita in tempo di pace displays an original intelligence and an unprecedented depth of feeling.

Full English Translation Available

Ivo Brandani has always lived in a time of peace. His story starts on the 29th May 2015 when Ivo, a sixty-nine-year-old engineer, is disenchanted, angry and morbidly attached to life. While coming back from Egypt, in a state of dreamlike limbo, Ivo revisits the different stages of his middle-class existence, from the present to the past: the sharp decline of the 2000s, the hypocrisy of the 1990s and, going further back in time, the student protests in the 1960s, the discovery of love and sex and the barbaric world that emerged from World War II, a time when Brandani was only a child experiencing his first nightmares and challenges. Razor-sharp and relentless, digressive and compelling, this book tells the story of a country and exposes the contradictions of the Italian as well as the European middle-class from the point of view of a lucid anti-hero: an exploration of the weaknesses and aspirations, the enthusiasm and nastiness of a people, of what we wanted to be and what, despite our best intentions, we have eventually become.

Ponte alle Grazie, October 2013, pp.512

  • “A masterpiece.”

    Il Corriere della Sera

  • “Pecoraro is a war writer. A war that ended a long time ago, but that has continued during the following “sixty years of peace” and still continues today, […] in the hell of human activities.”

    La Repubblica

  • “An intellectual novel, certainly. (…)the most intense chapter recalls the experience of childhood with an exactitude and a rejection of embellishment which approach the lucidity of Leopardi.”

    Alessandro Zaccuri, Avvenire

  • “Extremely powerful and rich…A novel of unusual ferocity and strength (…) It’s the heir apparent to the tormented heroes of Céline (…) of Pasolini’s Petrolio, of Malcolm Lowry, DeLillo’s White Noise.”

    Andrea Bajani, La Repubblica

  • “Francesco Pecoraro has written one of the best Italian novels of the season… Brings to mind an extremely high standard of writing: not so much that of Gadda (which he approaches at times) as that of Musil.”

    Filippo La Porta, Il Messaggero

  • “A rich, modernist, built-up, Célinesque novel.”


  • “Grandissimo.”

    Vpro boeken

Rights Sold

World English Rights: Seagull Books; France: Lattes; Holland: Wereldbibliotheek; World Spanish Rights: Editorial Periférica; Turkey: Epsilon.

Francesco Pecoraro

Francesco Pecoraro (1945) was born in Rome, where he still lives. He has published a collection of short stories and a poetry collection. Ponte alle Grazie published his first novel, La vita in tempo di pace (Life in Peacetime, 2013), a resounding success that sold 30,000 copies, third runner-up in the Strega Prize, winner of the Viareggio Prize, the Mondello Prize, and finalist for the Volponi Prize. Foreign rights sold to Seagull Books (world English rights), Lattes (France), Wereldbibliotheek (Holland), Editorial Periférica (world Spanish rights), Epsilon (Turkey). In 2019 he wrote Lo stradone (The Road): foreign rights sold to Editorial Periférica (world Spanish rights).

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