September 30 , 2010

Casa Rossa


This second novel by the author of the acclaimed Rules of the Wild is very much in the tradition of The Leopard or The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, a compelling story of three generations in twentieth-century Italy. Casa Rossa, the home of the Strada family, is a magnificent farmhouse standing amidst the olive groves of Puglia. The story opens as the house is being sold. Alina, the daughter entrusted with packing it up, is piecing together the fragments of her family's past. Her grandmother, Renee, a beautiful Tunisian pied noir, muse and model to Alina's painter grandfather, left him for a woman and fled to Paris. Her mother Alba, who grew up at Casa Rossa, marries a melancholic screenwriter, who dies in mysterious circumstances. And then there is her sister Isabella, once her best friend, who becomes a stranger caught up in a bitter fight for a dangerous ideology. The sisters' love for each other is always precarious, and in time shifts to a betrayal of which they can never speak. A haunting story of what happens when family secrets collide with history, Casa Rossa moves from the duplicity of Italy's role in the 1930s to the dark years of Red Brigade's terrorism in the seventies. Intricate, moving, suspenseful, Casa Rossa confirms Francesca Marciano as a writer of remarkable gifts.
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