Cose che nessuno sa (Things That No One Knows)

Cose che nessuno sa (Things That No One Knows) Alessandro D'Avenia
Pub date 31st January 2011
Original publisher Mondadori (Italy)
International publishers Bertrand (Brazil), Obsidian (Bulgaria), Random House (Germany), Europa (Hungary), Alma Littera (Lithuania), De Bezige Bij (The Netherlands), Druzina (Slovenia), Penguin Random House (Spain)

Fourteen-year-old Margherita is about to enter the magical and daunting world of high school.

The corridors of her new school promise excitement but also danger. By the end of the first term alliances are formed and judgments passed that could determine the fate of each student.

Shut up in her room, with the warmth of the summer sunshine still on her skin, Margherita feels like every other teenager: a tightrope walker balancing over a chasm. Only the love of her parents, of her extraordinary Sicilian granny Teresa and of her little brother allow her to walk on that tightrope, to brave the world and to try and grow into the young woman she wants to be.

But then one day Margherita listens to a message on the answering machine. It’s her father announcing that he won’t be coming back home – ever. Margherita feels the floor disappear beneath her feet. She doesn’t know yet that this painful experience, little by little, will make her a woman, just as a beautiful pearl forms in an oyster after it has been attacked. This is indeed the secret of pain: it knows where life is hidden and knows how to set it free.

This time, however, granny Teresa’s smiling wisdom will not be enough for Margherita, and the new voices which can help her will come from her new high school world: the voice of Marta, who she sits next to, full of infectious enthusiasm, the deep voice of Giulio, the most mysterious boy at school, and even her teacher’s voice, a young man in search of himself, sensitive to the life that can be found in the pages of books. And it will be in a book, the Odyssey, that Margherita reads about Telemachus and finds the energy to embark on a journey in search of her father that will radically change her future.

After the huge success of his debut novel, Bianca come il latte, rossa come il sangue (White like milk, red like blood) Alessandro D’Avenia returns to his talent for speaking tenderly, honestly and bravely about adolescence – about its agonies and enigmas, alongside its spontaneity and vitality. This time though his young characters are confronted with adults in moments of crisis. These moments happen sooner or later to everyone, revealing the fragility and desires that we carry inside ourselves and which belong to the kids we used to be.


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