When the Night

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When the Night

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
On a month-long alpine retreat without her husband, Marina and her young son are rescued by her landlord Manfred after an accident. Manfred, a misogynistic mountaineer who was abandoned by his wife, proceeds to transfer his hatred of womankind onto Marina. Despite the ill treatment, Marina finds herself drawn toward the abusive mountaineer, à la Lina Wertmüller’s Swept Away. Fifteen years later, Marina’s fixation has grown into an obsession, and she returns—only to find Manfred reunited with his wife. Italian writer-director Comencini’s (The Missing Pages) narrative suffers from bone-dry prose, hasty shifts in tense and POV, and too many beat-by-beat chronicles of her characters’ interior thoughts. Despite the interesting juxtaposition of this prose with the tropes of a romantic potboiler, the author’s rarefied, minimalistic approach is austere to the point of alienation. Her protagonists remain ciphers, their motivations and desires unfathomable. The author’s own film of her novel was released in Italy in 2011. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“Cristina Comencini recounts the shocks to the heart, the pain, and the unhappiness of lives wounded by destiny.” —La Stampa
“Comencini has constructed a novel that is as hard as the mountains in which it is set and as implacable as a true love story should be.” —Elle (France)
“Comencini writes the story of generations in an Italy in flux, of family relations, of solitude and love.” —La Reppublica

"Comencini is adept at creating an extraordinary portrait of psychologically scarred characters.” –Kirkus (starred review)

“Comencini’s writing is as clean, spare, and intimidating as the novel’s alpine setting. Her terse conversations and taciturn characters reveal weakness and desperation while trying to show strength and independence. Their hearts are closed, because they never found the right person who could open them. Until they meet each other.” –The Coffin Factory

"Comencini knows how to tell a gripping story, slowly churning the primary tension with measured restraint...When the Night is an engaging read, best for those looking for something with the hint of a psychological thriller or, perhaps, seeking to imagine the crisp air of Italy’s Dolomites." –World Literature Today

When the Night is a deep psychological tale that looks into the souls of two mentally wounded warriors who fear relationships because they have failed at them.” –The Midwest Book Review

“In spare, exact prose Cristina Comencini lets this story unfold against an Alpine setting that is so vivid it, too, becomes a character in this strangely compelling novel. The attraction between these two people…begins to have an edge as sharp as the winter, Alpine air, and their mental observations about each other glitter with as many facets as the Alpine ice.” –Arts Fuse

“Comencini deftly handles rapid shifts in point of view that illuminate the misunderstandings, missed opportunities and unspoken desires that dog these two lonely souls. When the Night is a haunting portrait of wives, husbands, mothers — and the lingering effects even small decisions and actions can have throughout a life.” –Tulsa Book Review

"Comencini builds the tension between Manfred and Marina with a master’s precision: the yearning, the terror, the desperation, and the unbridled passion of two lonely, disparate souls. The meeting, finally, of these improbable lovers is so torturous, so exquisitely painful, that like the lovers, the reader has cast aside all pretensions of restraint. This is a blinding, brilliant exercise in the absurd perfection and healing power of human relationships." -Curled Up with a Good Book

Kirkus Reviews
Two strangers meet in the Italian Dolomites and are equally attracted to and repelled by each other. Accompanied by her 2-year-old son Marco, Marina takes refuge in northern Italy to sort out her relationship with her husband, which has deteriorated since the birth of their child. There she meets Manfred, a local mountain guide as elemental as the rocky peaks surrounding him. Manfred is, to put it charitably, taciturn, if not morosely uncommunicative. He quickly develops an antipathy toward Marina as being a bad mother, for in a mysterious incident she briefly leaves Marco, who falls and hurts himself. Manfred grudgingly leads Marina up to a remote mountain lodge owned by his family, and there she meets Manfred's brothers and his sister-in-law, with whom she develops a rapport borne out of their shared roles as mothers. Despite herself, Marina starts to feel drawn to Manfred, estranged from both his wife, whom he's brutalized, and his two children. She begins to fantasize what intimacy with Manfred would feel like and concludes it would not be for the faint of heart. Then, in an almost psychic episode, Manfred is missing when he's expected at the lodge, and she impulsively calls the local police, who find him in a crevasse, so he now feels a reluctant obligation to Marina for saving his life. Although they come close to consummating their affair, they never act on their impulses, and Manfred tells Marina to return to her husband. Fifteen years later Marina, driven by curiosity, seeks out Manfred one more time to see what she might have missed. A director and screenwriter as well as a novelist, Comencini is adept at creating an extraordinary portrait of psychologically scarred characters.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590515112
  • Publisher: Other Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 4/24/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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