RaveAsymptoteThe masterful craftsmanship of both author and translator animates a universe that trembles on the limit of realism. An elevation from the typical love story, the novel invites meditation on topics like the nature of narrative, the unreliability of perception, the standards by which we judge the value of a human life, and even the act of translation ... The novel’s brilliant twist on the doppelgänger trope begs a general interrogation of the conceptualized \'original,\' which can be extended to the act of translation ... This novel draws its energy from the powerful twin forces of love and shame ... And that, one could argue, makes a living story.
Donatella Di Pietrantonio, Trans. by Ann Goldstein
RaveAsymptote Journal...[a] searing translation from the Italian ... Ann Goldstein’s sensitive, simple, image-rich translation immediately absorbs the reader in the universe of the text and provokes empathy for the young narrator. Tasteful foreshadowing creates a sense of cohesion. Each character is sublimely human, both lovable and reprehensible, which further complicates the confrontation between the sheltered girl and the complex world to which she is now exposed. The expert pacing of the text emphasizes poignant moments by stopping time to take stock of sensations ... Di Pietrantonio and Goldstein have delivered a controlled and exacting interrogation of human relationships that confounds both the mind and the heart in the most delicious way.
MixedAsymptoteThe most successful element of the novel is [the] lack of a truly satisfying resolution ... Unfortunately, some other aspects of the novel are less successful. The family scenes that precede Samir’s father’s disappearance are just a shade too rosy, and the main female characters—Samir’s mother, sister, and love interest—are all essentially the same: sweet, pretty, faithful, and patient ... Samir and his father, as you may have already understood, are easy characters either to sympathize with or to condemn. The same could be said for Lebanon, itself a character in this narrative. Their challenge is to construct a viable future on such an uncertain foundation. To believe in success is a mandatory leap of faith.