The Italy of Alessandro Baricco's Emmaus is one of stark contrasts: the secular and the pious, the rich and the poor, those with "a capacity for destiny" and those who "cannot afford it." And it's in all of the latter that we find our four protagonists: Bobby, the Saint, Luca, and the unnamed narratorall devout Catholics, all from proud, struggling families, and all lusting after one hyper-sexual woman. Andre, a woman whose reckless exploits border on suicidal, leads these four friends from adolescence to manhood in a torrid and existentially confused mess of emotions.
Baricco's lucid prose moves effortlessly from the abstract to the specific, while his Lolita-esque beginning takes a sharp turn towards an unsettling world reminiscent of Bolano's best work. A brilliant portrait of the perils and uncertainties of youth and faith, Emmaus is a remarkable novel from one of the very best writers in Italy.
"Alessandro Baricco's new novel is about religion and sin, the sacred and the blasphemous, but perhaps above all about life, about the complicated and painful ways in which we approach it, the prices we pay, the losses and gains that add up to a figure that is always open-ended. It's an eternal story--not new yet always containing original elements that can render it authentic, possible, verifiable, if we know how to see it."--Il Mattino ""Emmaus" is a book about how difficult it is to see truly, in all times and in our own time. Thus it is the story of a fiction--that is to say a universe molded over time--that shatters under pressure of the cruelties of truth. But, at the same time, it is also the story of how, amid the ruins, the confusing world of resurrection appears."--"La Repubblica" "A short, haunting philosophical novel."--"Shelf Awareness" "Darkly beautiful."--"Hey Small Press!" "The haunting prose is soaked in a poetic sense of doom and brokenness, a hard-edged working-class lyricism reminiscent of Tillie Olson's dustbowl classic "Yonnondio.""--"The Daily Beast" "A riveting read"--"Switchback Journal" "It's the sinister caprice with which he and his characters seem to take in blowing out their fine lines that takes this from being a beautifully written novel, to being a beautifully human novel." --"City Book Review"