The house on Via Gemito

Domenico Starnone, 1943-

Book - 2023

A modest apartment in Via Gemito smelling of paint and turpentine. Its furniture pushed up against the wall to create a make-shift studio. Drying canvases moved from bed to floor each night. Federí, the father, a railway clerk, is convinced that he possesses great artistic promise. If it weren't for the family he must feed and the jealousy of his fellow Neapolitan artists, nothing would stop him from becoming a world-famous painter. Ambitious and frustrated, genuinely talented but also arrogant and resentful, Federí's is scarred by constant disappointment. He is a larger-than-life character, a liar, a fabulist, and his fantasies shape the lives of those around him, especially his young son, Mimi, short for Domenico, who will spe...nd a lifetime trying to get out from under his father's shadow. --from Amazon.

Saved in:

1st Floor Show me where

FICTION/Starnone Domenico
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Starnone Domenico Checked In
Autobiographical fiction
New York, NY : Europa Editions 2023.
Main Author
Domenico Starnone, 1943- (author)
Other Authors
Oonagh Stransky (translator)
Item Description
Translation of: Via Gemito.
"Copyright © 2020 by Giulio Einaudo editore s.p.a., Torino ... Translation copyright © 2023 by Europa Editions" -- title page verso.
Physical Description
451 pages ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Starnone (Trust) draws on his personal history in this nuanced saga of life as the child of an artist, originally published more than 20 years ago and now appearing in English for the first time. At the center are prickly memories of narrator Mimí's high-spirited, contentious father, Federi, as Mimí grows up in postwar Naples, seeking love and attention. Federi, a passionate and frustrated painter, supports the family as a railway worker while awaiting his big break. He contends with rivalries among fellow members of the insular art community, especially during competition in the Salon des Refuse. Mimí takes on the role of his father's model, pouring water from a demijohn and enduring an "uncomfortable pose" for what Federi believes will be his masterpiece, The Drinkers--a work "better than Manet's Dejeuner sur l'herbe," according to Federi. Later, a dancer, the uncle of a girl Mimí has a crush on, upends the family's dynamics after Federi insults him with homophobic slurs, prompting Mimí to question his father's worldview. Vividly portrayed secondary characters--mothers, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors--lend additional gravitas. Starnone's richly examined narrative makes for an enduring coming-of-age. (May)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A son comes to terms with his narcissistic father. To Starnone's English-language readers, his new novel might seem to signal a departure: Expansive and winding where his previous books (Trust, 2021, etc.) were spare and straightforward, Starnone's latest to be translated into English was in fact published in Italy years ago, where it won a prestigious award and helped cement the author's illustrious reputation. In it, the eldest son of a narcissistic, bitter, grossly exaggerating man--a complicated character, to say the least--describes his father's life. He does so by recounting the stories his father, Federí, told over and over again, with details that shifted with each telling, always in Federí's favor. Though he worked for the railroads his whole adult life, Federí considered himself an artist--an untrained but brilliant artist, misunderstood, of course, and vastly underappreciated. He spent his days raging against the innumerable injustices he believed himself to endure. Federí's son has grown up hearing the same complaints so many times he's no longer sure what is real and what is merely an exaggeration: "The angrier he grew when telling the stories of his life and the reasons for his actions," our narrator explains, "the thicker the fog grew inside my head." Starnone writes with the same intricate sympathy for his characters as he has in other books: Every character, including Federí, is a full-fledged human being filled with desire, regret, resentment, bitterness, and hope. At the same time, the Neapolitan setting comes equally alive. Federí married his wife, Rusinè, in the midst of the Second World War, and the confused aftermath of that war, as Italy struggled to regain standing, is beautifully described. Starnone, it seems, can do no wrong. A complexly structured masterpiece that doubles back on itself in order to move forward. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.