Historical novel

Fiore di roccia

(Flower of the Rocks)

Casa Editrice Longanesi&C., June 2020, pp.320

over 150,000 copies sold – 13 editions


A writer who has sold over 320,000 copies in Italy listed among the best debut authors by The Times

Rapallo Prize Winner

A novel about an important, long-forgotten chapter of history. The story of Le Portatrici (Bearers), women of all ages who, during the First World War, in the theatre of war in Carnia, in the north-eastern Italian region of Friuli, were called upon to help the men in the trenches by carrying up food supplies and ammunition first, then dead bodies down the mountain.

English sample available

The theatre of war of the Carnia region is a series of sharp peaks, defence lines isolated on the summits and thousands of young men driven to exhaustion. The command turns to the local population with a desperate plea for anyone to help them. The women from the neighbouring valleys respond to the appeal. Women of all ages, from thirteen to sixty, accustomed to hard work, and who, for centuries, have carried heavy wicker baskets on their backs, but are also used to a life of hardship that has forged resilient spirits and minds with exceptional moral fibre. Among them, there is brave Agata, who would sooner eat cheese crusts than deprive her invalid father of even just a soup made of herbs. There is the exuberant Viola, who, for the love of an Alpino artillery man, carries forty-two kilos’ worth of projectiles on her back. There is Lucia, a mother of four with quiet strength, the point of reference for everybody else. They are friends, companions. They know these mountains better than anyone else and are the protagonists of this novel. A story of women, of hard work, of compassion, and of hope.

Casa Editrice Longanesi&C., June 2020, pp.320

  • “Ilaria Tuti has created a taut novel in which no word is superfluous, no description merely ‘decorative’. The open sores on the tormented shoulders of the young women, the “gloomy” eyes of the soldiers, a poor meal eaten in silence, the held-back tears and the few laughs are the (beautiful) tesserae of a mosaic that is at the same time epic and stark.”

    Corriere della Sera

  • “Splendid, evocative writing that contains the spirit of historical testimony and of a story told and at the same time kept intimate.”

    Stefania Auci, bestselling author of The Florios of Sicily.

  • “Ilaria Tuti is good at not sliding down the slippery slope of sentimentality. It’s interesting to see her meticulous attention to language, its structure and its musicality.”

    Dacia Maraini

  • “Ilaria Tuti’s wonderful story, ‘Fiore di Roccia’, is truly one of these rare novels that can hold its own against the classics established during the Great War.”  

    Mirella Serri, “ttL”, La Stampa

Rights Sold

Brazil: Rua do Sabão; Croatia: Znanje d.o.o.; France: Stock; Lithuania: Baltos lankos; The Netherlands: De Bezige Bij; Poland: Sonia Draga; World Spanish Rights: Alfaguara (Castilian).

Ilaria Tuti

Ilaria Tuti lives in Friuli, in far north-eastern Italy. Her novels, featuring Chief Inspector Teresa Battaglia, Fiori sopra l’inferno (Flowers Over the Inferno, 2018), Ninfa dormiente (Painted in Blood (UK), The Sleeping Nymph (USA), 2019) and Luce della notte (Night Glow, 2020) have enjoyed great success in Italy – selling over 600,000 copies to date – and been published in translation in 27 countries. llaria Tuti is also the author of the bestselling historical novel, Fiore di roccia (Flower of the Rocks, 2020). In 2021, she was the first ever writer to have been shortlisted for the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe Award, with Painted in Blood/The Sleeping Nymph.

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