Author(s): Elena Varvello
'A beautiful, stark, poignant account of fear, love and loss' Emma Flint, author of Little Deaths'A novel that you long to savour because there won't be another one this rich, this compelling, this extraordinarily satisfying for a long, long time' Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This and a Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award finalist 2017'Readers will devour this novel in one sitting as I did, then chew over it long after the book is done' Karen Dionne, author of The Marsh King's Daughter1978. Ponte, a small community in Northern Italy: peaceful woods, discarded rubbish, a closed-down factory. An unbearably hot summer like many others, wilted flowers and trips to the waterfalls.Elia Furenti is sixteen, living in a secluded house with his parents, a life so unremarkable that even its moderate unhappiness has been accepted as normal. That is until the day the beautiful, damaged Anna returns to Ponte and firmly propels Elia to the edge of adulthood. But then everything starts to unravel.Elia's father, Ettore, is let go from his job and loses himself in the darkest corners of his mind.A young boy is murdered, shaking the small community to its core.And a girl climbs into a van and vanishes in the deep, dark woods. ..Translated from Italian by Alex Valente.
A beautiful, stark, poignant account of fear, love and loss Emma Flint, author of LITTLE DEATHS (Bailey's Women Prize for Fiction 2017 Longlist) Elena Varvello's Can you hear me? is riveting and luminous. It's a gorgeous heart-rending novel that you want to finish in one sitting - and few readers will be able to resist the exquisite gravity of such temptation - but it's also a novel that you long to savour, to make last, to draw out because there won't be another one this rich, this compelling, this extraordinarily satisfying for a long, long time. Bret Anthony Johnston, internationally bestselling author of REMEMBER ME LIKE THIS and The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award finalist 2017 Haunting, surreal, and deeply engaging, Elena Varvello's Can you hear me? is at once suspenseful and elegiac, as beautiful as it is horrifying, as Varvello takes us deep inside the mind and heart of 16-year-old Elia Furenti during his summer of change. Readers will devour this novel in one sitting as I did, then chew over it long after the book is done Karen Dionne, author of THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER Elena Varvello's thrilling novel Can You Hear Me? holds a magnifying glass to a family spiralling into darkness while simultaneously casting a net that ensnares the poignancy of the end of adolescence. We are swept away by the vivid characters as their dark and broken places are deftly revealed. Varvello's command of her story, and yet delicate delivery, makes for stunning writing. A smart, dark, page-turner that lingers long after the last page. Kate Mayfield, author of THE UNDERTAKER'S DAUGHTER Can you hear me? shines a light on one family's black heart, a place where opposites coexist: tenderness and fear; happiness and pain; unfaltering faith and ugly suspicions. A book to get lost in Paolo Giordano, internationally bestselling author of THE SOLITUDE OF PRIME NUMBERS Reading Can you hear me? is like being swept away by a powerful current. The best Italian novel of the year. Fabio Geda, internationally bestselling author of IN THE SEA THERE ARE CROCODILES One of the best Italian novels of 2016. A book that doesn't shy away from pain - it shines a light on it. And it does so beautifully, page by page. Alessandro Baricco, internationally bestselling author of SILK Halfway between noir and coming-of-age, Can you hear me? is an utterly original new type of novel. I read it in two sittings, and I'm sure it will stay with me for a long time. Maria Lomunno, Foyles Bookseller A noir that reminded me of great Italian literature: the atmosphere I found in Niccolo Ammaniti's I'm not scared, mixed with the images that someone like Bassani can create with such accuracy... I can't even tell you how excited I am to finally talk about it with customers and colleagues Dafne Martino, Waterstones bookseller Elena Varvello has created a world of suspense a la Hitchcock: a 16-year-old boy tells his story and that of his tragic family... The ravine and the forest of the Piedmontese hills described in Can you hear me? are threatened by evil which colours every page of this novel and reaches the reader via a shattering, dry dialogue. The rapidly industrialised landscape in a provincial corner of northern Italy, containing woods, waterfalls but also discarded tins and other rubbish, speaks of the tragedy: all is normal in the microcosm of Can you hear me?, even intense unhappiness has been accepted as normality.Elena Varvello is a skilled and able narrator; her strong prose belongs to a new vein that has sprung out of modern Italy: women writers revel in an imagination that used to belong to the male world but with an added dose of poetry that is altogether feminine. Gaia Servadio A dark and painful novel, constructed with great wisdom and written with rare restraint. Nicola Lagioia, author of FEROCITY, winner of the Strega Prize 2015 Varvello has written both a noir and a coming-of-age novel that is in some ways reminiscent of Niccolo Ammaniti's I'm Not Scared... Varvello reveals the widening cracks slowly, perceptively, as one family scene unfurls from another, telling the story through omissions that become enigmas. Il Messaggero Can you hear me? is one of the most beautiful, intense and original books I have encountered in my life... A beautifully written book, that brings to mind Cormac McCarthy. Huffington Post Italy It brought back to mind Elsa Morante's Arturo's Island, and those classics with the ability to capture the abyss of adolescence, authors like Moravia and Bassani. This novel will grab you instantly and force you to read with a growing sense of panic, something tight in your throat: like a noir of ordinary life, bloodless and thus even more ruthless La Stampa A coming-of-age story of friendship and passion that keeps the reader glued to the page Repubblica Magnificent Il manifesto With her ability to capture the fragmented rhythm of life, the clockwork eruption of a drama foretold, Elena Varvello hooks the reader Corriere della Sera
ELENA VARVELLO was born in Turin, Italy, in 1971. She has published two collections of poetry, Perseveranza e salutare and Atlanti, a collection of short stories, L'economia delle cose (nominated for the Premio Strega, the Italian equivalent of the Man Booker Prize), and a novel, La luce perfetta del giorno. She teaches creative writing at the Scuola Holden in Turin. Can you hear me? is her first novel to be published in English.ALEX VALENTE is a European half-Yorkshire, half-Tuscan freelance translator. He has researched comics, poetry, and their translation, edits the Arts section of the Norwich Radical, regularly translates for Booksinitaly.com, and does voluntary work for non-profit organisations. He's on Twitter as @DrFumetts.