“I would spent alone with the snake more or less the same time that I would spend with my father. I had to respect a deadline that forced me to work on it for days. I would devote myself to my father when his needs and his rattle called me, otherwise I would stay in my room with the door closed, and work – as I was requested to do – to make a dead animal look like a live one”.
Francesco Colloneve has worked for years embalming animals and knows only too deeply what gestures necessarily follow all separations. When his father dies and the house where he lives is transformed
into “a goastland that stinks of mushrooms, that when brushed with a hand, leaves your palm smelling of oxidized nickels”, Colloneve works on it with rhythmic and tiny gestures, as if it were one of the many animals on which he spends his nights. Because if “the art of losing
is not hard to learn”, as claimed by the poet Elizabeth Bishop, the art of surviving one’s losses is far more complicated. With a precise and sharp language which evokes and echoes the tools of his character, Gabriele Di Fronzo uses his debut novel to tell us about ways to preserve things, things like memories, like a goldfish, like a father.
Short-listed at Procida Isola di Artuto Elsa Morante Prize 2016
Volponi Prize for the Debut Novel 2016