Titles in our catalogue
The Emperor's Umbrella
A crime novel set in an unusual environment, in Japan, where a mixed-race detective investigates a singular murder with just one clue that incriminates the only person in the world he can neither question nor arrest: the Emperor.
A compelling debut novel that contains the beauty and elusiveness typical of an ancient culture, while not shying away from its deepest flaws.
When faced with a murder victim killed with an ordinary, transparent plastic umbrella, like the hundreds seen in the streets of Tokyo on rainy days, Chief Inspector Takeshi Nishida has little prospect of solving the case. Both the victim and the murder weapon are too anonymous. It is therefore with little hope that he has the object examined for any relevant fingerprints. The test results are, however, beyond the imaginable. There is a clear, well-defined fingerprint. It belongs to the Emperor of Japan. And so what seemed like a run-of-the-mill murder suddenly turns into a very delicate, complex conundrum. One, by one, Chief Inspector Nishida must identify all the fleeting owners of this umbrella, hunting for an answer that is as hoped for as it is dreaded.
Io non ti lascio solo
I Won't Leave You Alone
Two little boys, a great friendship, a secret kept for over thirty years.
A tale that combines a coming-of-age novel and a detective story. It tells with the kind of delicacy and charm only fairy-tales have of the relationship between parents and children, grief and loss, but also of the force and tenacity destined to survive over time. Until the final, unsettling and overwhelming coup de théâtre.
Just as he is about to retire from the force, Marshal De Benedettis makes a discovery destined to disturb his peace of mind. Two dusty diaries surface from the the cellar of the old house of Guelfo Tabacci – a cantankerous mountain dweller and suspect in the case of his son’s disappearance, thirty years earlier. They were written by Filo e Rullo, two little boys who, during a summer, a long time ago, went searching for their beloved dog, Birillo, and so reached Guelfo’s mountain hut. And there, the children discovered a disconcerting, painful truth that has remained buried for too long.
Fiore di roccia
Flower of the Rocks
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.
Il fantasma dei fatti
The Fact Ghost
A counter-history of Italy from the 1950s to the present day. After fifteen years of research, Bruno Arpaia constructs a compelling novel that weaves together events and stories of his adventurous investigations, brings together elusive characters, unresolved cases and uncomfortable truths, lays them bare and shows us that the most logical version of facts is not always the most truthful.
Towards the late 1950s, Tom il Greco was the head of the CIA in Rome. Throughout his long career, he had a hand in the most obscure secrets of international politics, from the Kennedy assassination to the apprehension of Che Guevara and the coup in Chile. There are, however, state secrets and political intrigues that even the shrewdest men cannot keep under control, and Tom knows this very well. Attacks that hit Italy’s resources hard in the field of electronics and nuclear energy, propelling it to its current decline. Secrets which, at this late stage, it no longer makes sense to conceal.
La forma del silenzio
The Shape of Silence
A hearing and speech impaired child who loses everything, a painful secret kept for twenty years, and two tormented souls seeking each other.
Family relationships, absences, harboured wounds, secrets and the principal themes of the intimist novel, immersed in a plot full of suspense, like in Jodi Picoult’s books.
English sample available
Leo is six years old. He was born deaf and uses sign language and the language of love with his family. But the time has come to start school, so Leo is sent far away from home, to a special school where sign language – the language of animals, according to the Gospel – is forbidden. His life suddenly becomes hard and unfathomable. One night, in 1964, during a heavy snowfall, Leo disappears. Police enquiries and searches lead nowhere: no one ever hears from him again. At least not until nineteen years later, when Michele, a former school friend of Leo’s, arrives in the consulting room of his sister Anna, a psychologist. He starts telling his story, starting from that winter’s night.
Io sono del mio amato
I am my Beloved's
A comparison between two generations (grandfather and grandson) of an ultra-Orthodox family, between tradition and modernity.
A story that straddles the tragedy of the Shoah and the contradictions of modern Israel.
Chaim and Levi, grandfather and grandson, live in contemporary Jerusalem and belong to an ultra-Orthodox family. Their stories unfold between past and present, and tales of the Second World War and the horror of the Shoah intersect with those of everyday events in a staunchly practising family. The tradition and modernity they both represent inevitably clash when Levi falls in love with a young female soldier who smokes, wears trousers and can’t cook. They quickly discover how unfair the dictates of religion can be and how it is sometimes necessary to deviate from the imposed norms. In the end, there is reconciliation in the spirit of love and affection.
A quality debut novel, powerful language that bluntly narrates the lives of two frail, damaged brothers, the victims of seclusion and degradation, tortured by a sense of guilt that rules over their lives, and which they must face.
In the imaginary outskirts of a tiny Sicilian village, Antonio and Paolo, two brothers aged nineteen and twenty-two, have been living alone since their father died and their mother left home. Together, they have built an everyday routine that apparently works despite its extreme precariousness, a present in which, however, there is no room for developing future projects and they are constantly overwhelmed by the struggle for survival. It is the summer. Antonio is looking for a job and Paolo trying to keep his. Hallucinating nights with friends, parties, days spent by the sea, evenings of drink, sex and drugs. Then, one seemingly quiet day, something snaps. As though by some petty astral conspiracy, old skeletons leap out of the cupboard and shallowly buried past demons resurface: the young men’s mother returns after running away from her violent husband years earlier, an old, a dormant love comes knocking at the door of one of the brothers and crimes never atoned appear on the horizon of the other…
The Last Witness
A story about the sense of responsibility, the power of secrets, the force of friendship and the importance of the past in understanding who we really are.
A little-known episode of the Second World War, a difficult page in history that features Trieste and Istria during the war and post-war period, amid ethnic and political conflicts in a complex international setting.
English sample available
As a little girl, Francesca witnessed something very much beyond her. Something connected with her grandmother and her friends, whom she pretends to have forgotten. Francesca has never known what her role is in their lives, their friendship and their promises of redemption with regard to a war that extinguished every dream. The time has now come, however, to discover it, because somebody has called on her to remember – an old man on his deathbed said that only she, Francesca, knows the truth. And the history that seemed so distant is now only a step away.
La campana di Marbach
The Marbach Bell
Antonio Ligabue: the story of the great painter’s youth, perfectly balanced between historical documentation and imaginary reconstruction.
From his birth in Switzerland, as the child of an unmarried mother, to his expulsion from the country, this is a vivid, intense novel about the coming of age of Ligabue, one of the most singular, greatest artists of the last century.
La ragazza del fuoco
The Fire Girl
A compelling first novel about the hardness of becoming adult.
A story set during a summer in the 1980s, about the devastating power of first love and about discovering the limitations and faults of adults.
A gentle yet powerful story, poetical yet true, intense yet light, that tackles universal themes: human limitations and frailty, fear and courage, the sorrow of loss, separation and defeat, but also the strength to be reborn.
The story evokes the atmosphere of Niccolò Ammaniti, I’m not scared, and Call me by your name by André Aciman.
It’s June, the month of sunshine. Marco is out jogging when he sees a poster advertising a photography exhibition. The picture takes him back to the fateful summer of 1982, when he was fourteen and spending a month’s holiday in a small fishing village in the south of Italy. A holiday for swimming, excursions with friends and family life, characterised by a challenging relationship with his father and his parents’ marital difficulties, until Marco meets two people – mesmerising and essential, kind and strange – who help him grow up. Achille, the village fool and idiot savant, and the beautiful wild, and restless Maria, who loves fire and whose sensuality and aura of mystery leads him to perform deeds he never thought possible. Until the tragic epilogue when the two young people are separated for ever, or so they think. A light-touched and at the same time insightful prose that delves into the layers of adolescence and reveals its journey towards knowledge and emancipation.
A family saga in which love, passion, solitude and betrayal are depicted against the background of great historical upheavals in the early 20th century.
A powerful historical fresco that takes us into Italy’s cosmopolitan environment of the Belle Époque, to the Vienna of joyous apocalypse, the Germany of the Great War then the Weimar Republic, already tainted by budding Nazism, and, finally, to the young and entrancing Buenos Aires of the Thirties.
This novel was written in parallel in French and Italian.
The Frieda of the book title is Frieda von Richthofen, the daughter of a German officer, cousin of the Red Baron and, above all, the muse and wife of D.H. Lawrence. A highly attractive seductress, she is the source of inspiration and passion for the protagonist and narrator of the novel, Joachim von Tilly.
The eleventh descendant of Count von Tilly of Hanover, Joachim seems destined to follow in his father’s footsteps at the helm of the family steelworks. But the road already mapped out for him by this constricting heritage soon turns into an escape that takes him to Naples and Capri, then Vienna, Berlin and, finally, Buenos Aires.
Joachim’s endless escape is studded with encounters, love affairs, hopes and betrayals. These lines, read by Joachim in a mysterious book discovered in Buenos Aires, perhaps suffice to summarise his adventurous life: “Man believes that his decisions extend over a large sphere of action when they actually merely sway between flight and nostalgia.”
A classic and at the same time very modern novel with a publishing history full of adventures. A few hundred copies of Frieda were already published in 2015 when it attracted the attention of reviewers and critics. It made the selection for the Campiello prize but had to be withdrawn because of the low print run and an insufficient number of copies to be sent to all the judges. But the press had fallen in love with it by then and there was an increasing number of reviews. Now, Ponte alle Grazie is relaunching this author with an international flavour, a kept promise of Italian literature.
Mara. Una donna del Novecento
Mara. A Woman of the 20th Century
With an honest, unprejudiced pen, Ritanna Armeni breaks down taboos and tells the story of an ordinary person, a young woman who believed in Mussolini, a Fascist woman. A great, female fresco of the last decade of the Fascist period.
Born in 1920, Mara is thirteen when this story begins. She lives in Rome. Her father is a shopkeeper, her mother a housewife. Her best friend Nadia, a staunch Fascist, takes her to hear Mussolini in Piazza Venezia unbeknown to her parents. She is a girl like so many others, who enjoys reading and wants to be a writer or a journalist when she grows up. She harbours many dreams and hopes: to study Latin literature and become beautiful and independent like her aunt Luisa, with her small hats and her quick, confident step. The future seems within reach, safe under the eyes of the Duce, displayed between two armchairs in her lounge. This is what Mara thinks of Benito Mussolini, and so do many other Italians who rush to stand beneath the balcony in Piazza Venezia. That is until doubt worms its way in, producing little cracks, opening wounds and altering individual and collective fates. Telling the stories of women, their desire for freedom, emancipation, revolution but also love, tenderness, a family, knowledge and wholeness. This is where Ritanna Armeni’s true talent lies.
Quello che si salva
What Stays Behind
An old spinning top in a Rome shop window takes Giulia back to her youth, the fight for freedom against the Nazi enemy and, above all, her first love.
A hymn to women, their strength and their hearts, capable of withstanding any blow.
In 1940s Rome, a new love blossoms beneath the Nazi yoke. Giulia, a young woman who until now has used her delicate fingers only to touch the keys of a piano, has to grab a pistol in order to defend what she believes in. Fear vanishes when she’s at Leo’s side but, unfortunately, the young man disappears after an enemy attack. Moreover, this object, a spinning top Leo gave his beloved in case anything happened to him, is nowhere to be found. At least until many years later when Giulia, now elderly, finds herself staring at that same top in a shop window, and powerful memories come flooding back. All she can do is share her story with her granddaughter Flavia and tell her that it’s not true that the memory of loved ones leaves a hollow inside us. On the contrary, it always fills us with their protection, and all you have to do is not be afraid of listening to its echo, however distant.
C'era una volta adesso
Once Upon a Time There Was Now
Mattia is eight years old in Spring 2020, when the world shuts itself at home because of a virus. In the distant future when he is telling this story, his perspective becomes once again that of a child as he recalls the salient moments of that epoch-making lockdown, remembering what it meant for his family.
An intense, empathic story set during the latest months.
Andrei, Mattia’s dad, comes to Milan because the following day, 10 March, he and Mattia’s mum are getting divorced. It’s a shame that the evening news on television informs him and his family that not only the courts but the entire country are going to be closed. Instead of running away to his new girlfriend in Rome, Andrei decides to stay in Milan so he can be closer to his son. However, Mattia wants none of this father who abandoned him when he was three years old; as a matter of fact, he hates him. In spite of himself, the boy starts living in the microcosm of his everyday life turned upside down, with school downsized to a computer, neighbours singing from their balconies and a father he hates locked in with him. Among mysteries to be solved and surprises around the corner, the lockdown becomes for Mattia partly an opportunity to take a close look at things and realise that perhaps growing up also means trusting other people, even your worst enemies.
Costanza Rizzacasa d'Orsogna
Non superare le dosi consigliate
Do not Exceed Recommended Intake
A stark, powerful novel that tackles a subject nobody talks about: fat-shaming, obesity – from bullying, to self-harm, prejudice, perfectionism and acceptance. A book about addictions – food, love, pharmaceutical drugs – that undermines every stereotype.
English sample available
“‘It’s very easy,’ my mother says. ‘Just stick two fingers down your throat.’ She encourages me. She didn’t teach me how to put on make-up – she taught me how to vomit.”
There’s the weight you can’t lose, even after you’ve lost it all. Matilde knows that. She began putting on weight at the age of six and has been hungry all her life. By the age of sixteen, she weighs 80 kilos, by eighteen 48. Laxatives, diuretics and irrepressible attacks of vomiting. Until, following an abusive relationship, she exceeds 130 kilos. She is so obese that she cannot find shoes and bras that fit and cannot even manage to put on her tights. So obese that she is afraid of breaking chairs. And when she leaves home there is always someone looking at her with contempt, who absolutely wants to tell her she has a problem, tell her what to do and how. So Matilde shuts herself at home for three years, has everything delivered and pretends she’s normal on social media. But what does normal mean?
Mare calmo, isolati misteri
Smooth Sea, Isolated Mysteries
Clumsy, funny, pathologically nosey and, above all, misanthropic, Martina lives in a lighthouse on a remote island in the Mediterranean. It is up to her to solve the mystery of the death of her elderly island neighbour, when she is not the least interested in other people. Although that might actually not exactly be the case.
English sample available
Martina has done everything to have a normal life. She has gone to parties, family dinners, and had the odd boyfriend. But, after years, she has realised that she doesn’t enjoy human company. As a matter of fact, she can’t stand it. She has discovered herself to be an incurable misanthrope. The only solution is to go away, far away. So she decides to relocate to a lighthouse on a remote island in the Mediterranean. Only, her solitary existence made up of just wind, sea and sky is disturbed by an invitation to dinner from the elderly resident of the neighbouring island. She certainly can’t refuse and is surprised by how little this man speaks – apparently even more of a misanthrope than she is… However, a few days later, she receives the terrible news that the elderly neighbour has hanged himself. Martina is in no way convinced by the theory of suicide. So much so that she begins to wonder if the few sentences uttered by the man at dinner could be nothing but clues for her, a request for help. And so she starts to investigate.
Nessuno scrive al Federale
No One Writes to the Regional Party Secretary
Nessuno scrive al Federale brings Marshal Ernesto Maccadò back on the scene. He is now feeling increasingly more at home in the town where he was sent with his Maristella – and where they had first felt like a couple of aliens – especially since the birth of his first child. Seen from up close, however, Bellano is far from being a quiet place, and it’s hard to dismiss the suspicion that a certain degree of madness reigns there.
The shores of Lake Como are dotted with towns and villages at the foot of mountains where not much happens. Except for Bellano. Over the past year and a half or so, the Secretary of the Regional Fascist Party has already had to replace two local branch secretaries. The first one to be fired was Bortolo Piazzacampo, nicknamed Tartina, because of an event connected with the eccentricities of a bull called Benito, where Tartina stood out for his stupidity. The second was Aurelio Trovatore, who decided to get married in Castellanza, choosing love over the fatal destiny of the Fascist motherland. A certain Caio Scafandro has now been appointed, a hunk of a man who resorts to his shovel-sized hands to drive his point across. Will he have the strength of mind – since there’s no lack of physical strength – to uphold his office? After all, there’s more than one skeleton in Scafandro’s cupboard. And more than one person knows that. All it would take is a couple of words whispered in the Regional Secretary’s ear and Bellano’s third local Fascist secretary would end up like his predecessors. This is why Scafandro has taken countermeasures, heedless of the fact that these cross into the land of law breaking, presided over by the police – the land occupied by Marshal Ernesto Maccadò. Having recently become the father of Rocco, his first child, on the morning of 20 November 1929, the marshal narrowly avoids an accident when a metal object is hurled at him in the street by a possible murderer. Who can this idiot possibly be?
I leoni di Sicilia
The Florios – Sicily's Lions
THE BESTSELLING ITALIAN BOOK OF 2019
#1 Top Ten Bestseller List after 1 year from the publication date
Over 600,000 copies sold– 32 editions
The saga of a great Sicilian family who, in just over a century, experienced fame, wealth and power, but was also engulfed in love affairs and betrayals, dark secrets and cruel acts of revenge. A story both epic and intimate, bathed in the colors of the Mediterranean and sparked by overwhelming passions. An extraordinary story, told by an extraordinary writer.
Full English translation available
From the 1800s to the 1930s, the Florios are the «uncrowned kings of Sicily»: restless and ambitious, single-minded and determined to be richer and more powerful than anybody else. They start as grindingly poor spice sellers, but they quickly move on to tuna fishing, to foundries and finally to the Marsala wine that conquers the world. Shrewd businessmen and entrepreneurs, the Florio men are also stubborn, arrogant, philanderers and slaves to passions and they often find themselves forced to choose between ambition and sacrifice. Strong and resolute, the Florio women may be caring mothers, alluring mistresses or wounded wives, but they always strive to find their place in the world. From Vincenzo, the founder of the Florio empire, to Ignazio, his grandson, who squanders the family fortune on legendary parties; from Giovanna, iron-willed but love-starved, to the legendary Donna Franca, idolized by kings and poets, the author draws on history with both hands, dispels the mists of time and restores the Florios’ extraordinary, contradictory and fascinating vitality.
Un caso maledetto
A Cursed Case
Cynical, surly and disenchanted: chief inspector Bordelli investigates during the worrisome and revolutionary atmosphere of the sixties, a time so far away yet so similar to our own.
January 1970. In April, Chief Inspector Bordelli is retiring after almost a quarter of a century in the police, and he still doesn’t know what to expect, unable to picture how he is going to react to this complete change. Meanwhile, however, he’s on duty and there’s no time to think or ask himself too many questions: there’s been a brutal murder in a street in central Florence. Will this heinous crime be his last case? Above all, will he be able to solve it? Bordelli and young Piras, who, meanwhile, has become inspector, work closely, driven, as ever, by their sense of justice, and, on this occasion, also by the unbearable futility of the murder. The months go by, spring arrives and the date of retirement approaches. Bordelli’s relationship with the beautiful Eleonora seems to go from strength to strength. And, of course, there is the dinner at Franco Bordelli’s home, where, as usual, everyone tells a story. But one morning the chief inspector receives a phone call from police headquarters… another murder?
Le origini del potere
The Origins of Power
The saga of the man who would become Julius II, the warrior Pope. He was the “enemy of the Borgias”. He lived among intrigues, forbidden love affairs and murders. Everything for a single objective: to become Pope.
For the readers of Matteo Strukul’s international bestseller “The Medicis”
August 1471. A young friar arrives in Rome and joins the rest of the population outside St Peter’s. Only he is not just anybody. He is Giuliano della Rovere, the nephew of the new Pope. And this is the first day of his new life, a day that will mark his fate: after witnessing the solemn coronation of his uncle, Giuliano is involved in a crazy whirlwind of celebrations in the city taverns, then risks death in an ambush before finding safety in the arms of an irresistibly alluring girl. This is Rome’s welcome to this humble young monk, who quickly learns his lesson. Only the strongest and most determined survive in the quagmire that is the Roman Curia. And so begins the ascent of Giuliano, who discovers that he has a burning ambition, equal only to his attraction for Lucrezia Normanni, the woman who will remain at his side for years to come, even bearing him a daughter. Years spent confronting his great adversary, Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, and secretly plotting against the Florence Medicis. And all that to prepare for an inevitable event: the death of his uncle, the Pope, and the opening of the conclave. Here comes the opportunity to acquire absolute power. But Giuliano will discover that for the moment, destiny has other plans for him…