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Persecution
     

Persecution

by Alessandro Piperno, Ann Goldstein (Translator)
 

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In a sprawling villa on the outskirts of Rome, the internationally revered pediatric oncologist Leo Pontecorvo and his family—wife Rachel and their two amiable children—have gathered for dinner. The scene is perfect in every way, until, that is, a horrifying accusation airs on the evening news concerning Leo Pontecorvo himself. From this point on,

Overview

In a sprawling villa on the outskirts of Rome, the internationally revered pediatric oncologist Leo Pontecorvo and his family—wife Rachel and their two amiable children—have gathered for dinner. The scene is perfect in every way, until, that is, a horrifying accusation airs on the evening news concerning Leo Pontecorvo himself. From this point on, nothing will ever be the same. A spotlight is turned on Leo that reveals the mistakes, regrets, and contradictions of a lifetime. Every detail of his private and professional life is about to come under scrutiny, to be debated by both friends and foes, by ravenous reporters and punctilious prosecutors. But Leo could bear all this if it weren’t for the suspicious gazes of his wife and children. Surely they, of all people, believe in his innocence!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Piperno's second novel (after The Worst Intentions), and the first in a diptych, depicts one man's descent into self-preoccupation after a criminal allegation. Leo Pontecorvo, famous pediatric oncologist, is accused of having an affair with his pre-teen son's girlfriend. Without denying or admitting guilt, Leo flees to his basement office to avoid the reactions of his wife and sons, and remains there until he emerges to hire a lawyer. When he is finally arrested, he is imprisoned and briefly tried, after which he resumes his self-imposed cellar exile. External events largely serve as pretext for narrating Leo's memories and meditations on his predicament in an associative style—in an effort to make Leo's stream of consciousness appear spontaneous, Piperno is by haphazard turns verbose, repetitive, digressive, unpolished, and obscene. And those musings of Leo’s that are meant to be insightful fall far short of their mark—his thoughts on lust are contradictory, and his recollection of Leibniz is perfunctory at best. Piperno's unnamed narrator purportedly wishes for Leo to be sympathetic, but by the end, it is difficult to feel for the obtuse coward. (Aug.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781609450748
Publisher:
Europa
Publication date:
07/31/2012
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Meet the Author

Alessandro Piperno’s2005 novel, The Worst Intentions, won the Campiello Prize for First Novel and became an instant bestseller in Italy, where Corriere della sera described its author as “a new Marcel Proust.” The New Yorker wrote that The Worst Intentions was a “wickedly scathing début, a coruscating mixture of satire, family epic, Proustian meditation, and erotomaniacal farce.” Persecution, the first installment of a diptych entitled The Friendly Fire of Memories, is his long-awaited second novel.

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