From Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award-winning writer Brigid Pasulka comes a charming and compulsively readable modern day fable of one misanthrope’s journey from darkness into the light—told by one of the most radiantly talented new voices in fiction.
In the seaside town of San Benedetto, soccer (or calcio) is more than just a sport: it’s an obsession. Twenty-two-year-old Etto, however, couldn’t care less about soccer. His beloved twin brother Luca, a rising soccer star, died tragically in a motorcycle accident, and their Californian mother, unable to cope with her grief, drowned herself on the anniversary of Luca’s death. This has left Etto alone to tend the butcher shop—where his father barely seems to take in his presence and entrusts him with only the most basic tasks. But then Yuri Fil, a Ukrainian soccer star who Etto’s father idolizes, takes refuge from the paparazzi in a nearby villa, and Etto accidentally falls into Yuri's orbit—and that of Yuri’s beautiful and tough sister, Zhuki. Under their influence, he begins to learn a few life lessons: that the game of soccer might not be a total waste of time, that he might not in fact be a total loser—and that San Benedetto, his father, love, and life itself might have more to offer him than he would have ever believed possible.