“The Hummingbird is a remarkable accomplishment, a true gift to the world.” —Michael Cunningham
“Long considered one of Italy's leading writers, Sandro Veronesi has re-written the family saga. Ardent, gripping, and inventive to the core, it has already been hailed a classic.”—Jhumpa Lahiri
"The Hummingbird is a masterly novel, a brilliantly conceived mosaic of love and tragedy."—Ian McEwan
The #1 international sensation from a master of European literature—winner of Italy’s Premio Strega—a saga of a Florentine family from the 1960s to the present that brilliantly captures the power of history and the multi-faceted experience of life itself as it explores how we contend with uncontrollable forces that both buffet and buoy us.
Marco Carrera is “the hummingbird,” a man with an almost supernatural ability to remain still amid the chaos of an ever-changing world. Though his life is rife with emotional challenges—suffering the death of his sister and the absence of his brother; caring for his elderly parents; raising his granddaughter when her mother, Marco's own child, is no longer capable; loving an enigmatic woman—Marco carries on with a noble stoicism that belies an intensity for living. As the years pass and the arc of his life bends, Marco finds himself filled with joy for the future as the baton passes from him to the next generation.
A beautiful and compelling journey through time told in myriad narrative styles, The Hummingbird is a story of suffering, happiness, loss, love, and hope—of a man who embodies the quiet heroism that defines daily life for countless ordinary folk. A thrilling novel about the need to look to the future with hope and live with intensity to the very end, Sandro Veronesi’s masterpiece—eminently readable, rich in insight, and filled with interesting twists and revelations—is a portrait of human existence, the vicissitudes and vagaries that propel and ultimately define us
Translated from the Italian by Elena Pala
"A great novel, vibrating with life and death, happiness and pain, nostalgia and hope for the future." —Vanity Fair
"Everything that makes the novel worthwhile and engaging is here ... magnificent – moving, replete, beautiful." —The Guardian
A 40-year-old ophthalmologist becomes enmeshed in a morass of family troubles and careless decisions in Veronesi's Strega Prize winning latest (after Quiet Chaos). In Rome at the brink of the new millennium, Marco Carrera, known by his childhood nickname "the hummingbird" for his diminutive stature, is having an affair while his wife does the same. His parents were glaringly mismatched, and his siblings, one of whom died many years earlier, are depicted through the nonlinear narrative as depressed, suicidal, or just plain estranged. Rather than marrying Luisa, Marco's longtime love, he had opted for Marina, a flight attendant he first sees on a TV news program, during which she describes how she'd narrowly avoided a shift on an ill-fated flight. They have a daughter, but Marco endures years of disappointments and Marina's adulterous betrayals. Meanwhile, he's secretly struck up a correspondence with Luisa. A chaotic black comedy of blunders ensues as the narrative volleys back and forth between Carrera's youth and the present through dashes of poetry, emails, postcards, and dialogue, while running commentary from an omnipresent third-person chimes in with penetrating insight (on relationships: "It should be common knowledge and yet it isn't that the course of every new relationship is set from the start, once and for all, every time"). Cleverly structured like a jigsaw puzzle, the story's disparate pieces are overlaid and slowly developed, such as the details of Marco's sister's death. A senseless tragedy, splashes of levity, and unexpected poignancy bring this to a moving conclusion. Veronesi's dark modern chronicle shimmers with intelligence and flashes of pathos.