From "one of the most significant figures of the last generation of fantasy", comes Francesco Dimitri's debut novel in English, an enthralling and seductive fantasy following four old friends and the secrets they keep.
Four old school friends have a pact: to meet up every year in the small town in Puglia they grew up in. Art, the charismatic leader of the group and creator of the pact, insists that the agreement must remain unshakable and enduring. But this year, he never shows up.
A visit to his house increases the friends' worry; Art is farming marijuana. In Southern Italy doing that kind of thing can be very dangerous. They can't go to the Carabinieri so must make enquiries of their own. This is how they come across the rumours about Art; bizarre and unbelievable rumours that he miraculously cured the local mafia boss's daughter of terminal leukaemia. And among the chaos of his house, they find a document written by Art, The Book of Hidden Things, that promises to reveal dark secrets and wonders beyond anything previously known.
Francesco Dimitri's first novel written in English, following his career as one of the most significant fantasy writers in Italy, will entrance fans of Elena Ferrante, Neil Gaiman and Donna Tartt. Set in the beguiling and seductive landscape of Southern Italy, this story is about friendship and landscape, love and betrayal; above all it is about the nature of mystery itself.
Renowned Italian author Dimitri's beautiful first novel written in English, about a group of friends who have a pact to meet annually in their small Italian hometown, is an evocative meditation on friendship, adulthood, and the liminal spaces that lie just outside human perception. Tony, a surgeon; Mauro, a lawyer; and Fabio, a fashion photographer, show up to their meeting place in Casalfranco, but Art, who formed the pact 17 years before, never arrives. A search of his home uncovers disturbing items, including a very weird book by Art entitled The Book of Hidden Things: A Field Guide, and the friends discover that Art has supposedly healed a young girl who had cancer and is now being held by the local mafia. Each of the friends wants to escape the perceived bonds of his life, and Art's book offers a pathway to a place of unbelievable bliss and little responsibility, the realm of the Hidden Things. But when the companions learn the price of entry, they struggle to confront their own demons and decide whether the promised joys are worth the cost. Dimitri's beautifully written tale, steeped in nostalgia, folklore, and religion, will enthrall and terrify readers.