Domenico Starnone, 1943-

Book - 2021

After yet another terrible argument, Teresa gets an idea: Pietro and her should tell each other something they've never told another person, something they're too ashamed to tell anyone. They will hear the other's confessions without judgment and with love in their hearts. A few days after sharing their shameful secrets, they break up. Not long after, Pietro meets Nadia, falls in love, and proposes. But the shadow of the secret he confessed to Teresa haunts him, and Teresa herself periodically reappears, standing at the crossroads, it seems, of every major moment in his life. Or is it he who seeks her out?

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Confessional fiction
New York, N.Y. : Europa Editions 2021.
Main Author
Domenico Starnone, 1943- (author)
Other Authors
Jhumpa Lahiri (translator)
Item Description
Originally published in 2019 by Giulio Einaudi as Confidenza.
Physical Description
171 pages ; 21 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Translated from Italian by novelist Lahiri, Starnone's (Trick, 2018) latest explores how love and marriage bend and evolve through the seasons of life. Teresa and Pietro are lovers who met as pupil and teacher. Later in their courtship, Teresa suggests an experiment: that they each share their deepest secret with the other. This quickly dissolves their relationship, but they are forever bonded by the mysterious information they divulged. Pietro marries and has three children; Teresa becomes a renowned scientist and moves around the globe. Yet they remain in contact through the years, stoking a cerebral marriage of sorts. Starnone then carries the story into the future, to Pietro's grown daughter, who now needs Teresa and Pietro to reunite for her own personal gain. A sweeping examination of aging, love, and success, Trust allows readers to define the boundaries of the novel's marriage and families for themselves. This is the third of Starnone's novels that Lahiri has translated over the last six years, and her deft hand seamlessly reveals Starnone's masterful narrative at every turn.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Starnone (Trick) returns with an elegant story of a man's lifelong struggle to perfect his public persona while hiding a secret. Pietro Vella, a self-important 30-something high school teacher, has a tempestuous affair with Teresa Quadraro, a former student who is eight years his junior. She suggests that in order to preserve their love, they each tell the other their worst secret. His involves an "embarrassing affair," while hers remains unspecified. But their increasingly abusive relationship--he talks down to her, she threatens him with a knife, he drags her by the hair in a fit of jealousy over another man--doesn't last long. Pietro later marries Nadia, a former colleague, yet continues to obsess over Teresa. When Pietro is 80, his daughter, Emma, lobbies to ensure he is awarded a prestigious teaching award. Much to Pietro's horror, Teresa, now a renowned scientist, is invited to speak at the ceremony. Lahiri's intelligent translation captures Starnone's subtle account of the characters' shifting power dynamics, and the novel ends with Teresa's take on their affair, in which she admits she still loves him and ambiguously claims to be "far more dangerous than he." Teresa's voice is a tonic after Pietro's misogynistic narration, but it's too brief. This will leave readers wanting more. (Oct.)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A pair of lovers make an unsettling pact. Pietro and Teresa keep breaking up and getting back together until one day, finally, Teresa suggests a way to bind themselves together: They'll each confess their worst secret. They do, but, a few days later, they break up again--this time for good. Time passes; Pietro meets Nadia, marries her, begins to have children, sees his career taking off. Teresa moves from Italy to the United States. And yet she still holds an enigmatic but intense power over Pietro: "We'd mutually revealed not only who we really were," he explains, "free from all staging, but had also revealed, one to the other, who, had the occasion arisen, we might have been." This is the fourth of Starnone's novels to appear in English, and, like the previous three, there is a tight, compact quality to it--there is nothing here that doesn't need to be here, not a single extraneous sentence. Starnone excels not only with plot and form, but in his depictions of the subtleties of living and loving. "Love, well, what to say?"--that's the very first sentence of the novel (which is beautifully translated by Lahiri). Pietro lives his life knowing that Teresa, and only Teresa, knows the worst in him and can, at any moment, expose him for it--that possibility hangs over his every decision like a threat. But in the last quarter of the book, Starnone tightens his reins even further. The story, it turns out, isn't just about trust--but also about how we create our own lovers to suit the selves we'd like to be--or, at any cost, not to be. Richly nuanced while also understated, Starnone's latest appearance in English is a novel to be savored. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.