A coming-of-age novel about a father and his teenage son who are forced to spend two sleepless nights exploring the city of Marseilles, a journey of unexpected adventure and profound discovery that helps them come to truly know each other.
... compelling, compact ... Carofiglio’s precise, economic language is insightful to the point that this poignant story’s setting is secondary, save for the unfamiliar sense that dodgy parts of Marseilles are not intended for tourists, and therefore, father and son have the impression they’re up against the secrets of this French, coastal town together ... profound in its simple delivery.
Despite the importance of these events, it is the conversations between son and father that are the real substance of this slender novel...Happily, their subsequent conversations are enlightening for both of them. Antonio tells the story in his own unadorned first-person voice from his perspective as a 51-year-old adult, a fact that adds wisdom to this absorbing novel of filial bonding.
... part of the novel’s gentle and understated drama is the distance that Antonio goes ... Even a non-verbal form of communication like instrumental music becomes a scaffolding for Carofiglio’s characters to express—in words—something about themselves and each other ... specific moments...furnish the story with deeply moving truths about time and memory ... Carofiglio’s drive for simplicity and directness in language carries the reader along to clarity about fundamental truths, including the ultimate challenge that we and our loved ones will all face in the end.