Claudia Durastanti, who had previously seen tremendous success with her novel The Stranger, which was a finalist in the Premio Strega, translated into over 25 languages, and named among the New Yorker’s best books of 2022, is set to return to bookstores in early March with her latest work, ‘Missitalia’. This is a substantial novel, spanning 400 pages, in which Durastanti narrates several stories set against different time periods, all centering around Lucania. The first story introduces us to Amalia Spada, an adventurous woman living in an Italy in the throes of transformation. Her home in the gullies of Lucania serves as a sanctuary for the disenfranchised and rebellious spirits seeking a fresh start, wild women, and men who have lost their strength. The narrative then shifts to the post-war period, characterized by a surge in energy, and we meet Ada, a young anthropologist exploring the Basilicata region rich with magic and oil while uncovering the myriad forms love can take. As Ada traverses between power centers and extraction plants, she finds herself ensnared in the intoxicating allure of the South, leading to a profound shift in her life’s trajectory.
Fast forward a century, and Lucania has become the launchpad for moon colonization missions undertaken by the Mediterranean Space Agency. In this futuristic outpost, we have A, a solitary and liberated woman who breathes life into objects discarded by the Agency. With a past marked by a husband and a longing for distance, her present is dominated by a yearning to come to terms with the notion of the end.
Described by the publisher, La Nave di Teseo, “Missitalia is a novel that, in the face of history, chooses to tell its own narrative: it is a glimpse into the possibilities that have remained unspoken or merely conceived over time”.