Released by Eyewear Publishing in March 2018.
Photo © Salvo d’Avila. Graphic design by Edwin Smet.
My debut novel, That Summer in Puglia, is a work of literary fiction set in 1980s Puglia (chiefly in Ostuni) and present-day London. It was the Italian Day fiction debut at the FTWeekend Oxford Literary Festival 2018. I subsequently presented the book widely (see events schedule here) in the UK, Italy and Switzerland.
The novel is endorsed by authors Rachel Seiffert and Simonetta Agnello Hornby and by film director Edoardo Winspeare. Currently in its third print run (as well as on Kindle), it’s available from the publisher and from all major retailers, including Amazon, Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Daunt Books and independent bookshops.
First launch events:
DEBUT: Oxford Literary Festival, Friday 23 March, 4 pm to 5 pm – for details, click here. The interviewer was Oxford University lecturer and Il Sole 24 Ore contributor Teresa Franco. An account and images of the event can be found here and here.
Waterstones Kensington, Tuesday 27 March, 6 pm to 7:30 pm – for details, click here. The interviewer was award-winning writer Rachel Seiffert (A Boy In Winter, The Dark Room, The Walk Home). Click here for an account and images of the event.
Italian Cultural Institute, London, Monday 16 April, 7 pm to 8:30 pm – for details, click here. The interviewer was the acclaimed journalist and presenter Rosie Goldsmith. For an account and images of the event, click here.
Tommaso has escaped discovery for thirty years – but a private investigator, Will, has tracked him down to inform him of his mother’s death and of the large inheritance she has left him. Though poor, Tommaso refuses it and asks Will to pretend never to have found him. To persuade him, he recounts the story of his life and of his great love, Anna. In the process, he comes to recognise his true role in the events which unfolded, and the legacy of unresolved grief. Now he’s being presented with an unexpected second chance – but is he ready to pay the price?
That Summer in Puglia is a tale of loss and of the power of love in its many forms. Puglia offers an ideal setting: its layers of history are integral to the story, itself an excavation of a man’s past; Tommaso’s increasingly vivid memories of its sensuous colours, aromas and tastes, and of how it felt to love and be loved, and to grieve, eventually overwhelm and transform the discomforting tone with which he at first tries to keep Will – and painful truths – at a distance.
That Summer in Puglia will appeal to readers gripped by the narrative form of Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, by the psychological tension running through Salley Vickers’ The Other Side of You or Sandor Marai’s Embers, or by the lyricism linking works as diverse as Tomasi di Lampedusa’s The Leopard or Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead. It will also captivate those who, having enjoyed Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, are eager to discover the cultural diversity and richness of Southern Italy.
If you’re curious about some of the creative choices behind the novel, see here:
- History in fiction: why it matters
- Lightness of thoughtfulness: why aspire to it?
- Why a dramatic monologue for ‘That Summer in Puglia’?
That Summer in Puglia is released by Eyewear Publishing, an independent press whose output includes Forward Prize-shortlisted and PBS-recommended works; it’s the publisher of Sadie and the Sadists by Paul Muldoon, whose numerous achievements and awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the T.S.Eliot Prize.
That Summer In Puglia cover photo: © Salvo d’Avila; all rights reserved; reproduced with kind permission of the artist. Book cover graphic design: Edwin Smet.
The Cathedral, Ostuni, by Airin. Reproduced under a CC license.
View of Ostuni, by Jelly. Reproduced under a CC license.
View of an alley, Ostuni, by Mentnafunangann. Reproduced under a CC license.
Ostuni, an alley, by Ingo Kuebler. Reproduced under a CC license.
The Banquet, by Xinstalker. Reproduced under a CC license.