A weary man faces the ghosts of his past while caring for his grandson in Naples in this National Book Award finalist novel by the acclaimed author of Ties.In Tricks, Domenico Starnone presents an unusual duel between two formidable minds. One is Daniele Mallarico, a once-successful illustrator who feels his artistic prowess fading. The other is Mario, Daniele's four-year-old grandson. Daniele is living in virtual solitude in Milan when his daughter asks him to come to Naples to babysit Mario for a few days.
Shut inside his childhood home--an apartment in the center of Naples that is filled with memoires of Daniele's past--grandfather and grandson match wits as Daniele heads toward a reckoning with his own ambitions and life choices. Meanwhile, Naples pulses outside, a wily, passionate city whose influence can never be shaken.
As translator Jhumpa Lahiri says in her introduction, Tricks is "an extremely playful literary composition" by the Strega Prize-winning novelist whom many consider to be one of Italy's greatest living writers.
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About the Author
Jhumpa Lahiri is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Interpreter of Maladies. Her books include The Namesake, Unaccustomed Earth, The Lowland, and, most recently, In Other Words, an exploration of language and identity.
Praise for Trick
"The real meat of this story is an old man's breakfasts and bath times with a wired-up four-year-old, his wrestling for the remote, desperately trying to find some space for himself and his work. Starnone, one of Italy's most accomplished novelists, knows the territory and delivers it wonderfully."--Tim Parks, The Guardian
"Their relationship, perfectly captured by Starnone's precise writing, gives the novel a rich foundation to allow for a juxtaposition of the old and the new, the rigid and the silly, while also providing readers with moments of pure comic relief, marked by the characters' signature, witty stichomythia."--Vox
"Short and emotionally astute, a shrewd mix of humor and dread that keeps you reading."--The Chicago Tribune
"Trick, it turns out, is a kind of ghost story in conversation with James's The Jolly Corner."--The Globe & Mail
"Domenico Starnone has written an emotionally complex, layered story whose brevity serves to amplify profound themes of self-identity, marriage, aging, death and the daunting sacrifices of the creative life."--Shelf Awareness (Starred Review)
"A superb, sometimes unsettling intergenerational portrait hitting on basic truths."--Library Journal (Starred Review)
"[A] new book from Starnone is an event to celebrate."--Kirkus (Starred Review)
"A maestro translated by a maestra. What more could anyone want?"--Jeffrey Eugenides
"I inhaled Trick, ran to Prairie Lights to get Ties, and inhaled that one too. Trick is fantastic--savage and funny and profound. A little masterpiece."--Garth Greenwell
"Astute and emotionally precise [...] This remarkably layered work encourages rereading to unearth subtle and new interpretations."--Publishers Weekly
"[P]oignant and achingly observed..."--Entertainment Weekly
"A sharp observation of two unlikely rivals matching wits and a trenchant analysis of aging, family and art, this deliciously addictive novel is a treat to read."--BookRiot
"Domenico Starnone's new novel Trick has all the coherence and intensity of a classic two-hand play. [...] Narrated in the grandfather's beleaguered, fractious voice, the book seems to unfold right before you--the voice so lucid and urgent all the emotional torque of what surges beneath the old man's interactions with his grandson--family secrets, a feeling of mortality buffeting up--assault the present, like they do when you're no longer young."--John Freeman, Literary Hub
"[E]ngrossing [...] Starnone packs a huge amount into a small compass..."--The Sunday Times (UK)
"Family ties and family dramas are at the core of this story, but both are written about with such stylistic elegance that readers will be astonished. Once again, Starnone gets it just right. Trick is a must-read!"--Huffington Post (Italy)
"Starnone expertly plucks some of the short story's essence, twisting and molding his own work into a marvel of metafiction that feels fresh and surprising."--The Washington Post
"In Trick, the sophisticated pleasures of meta-fiction live happily together with the elementary pleasures of a story well told, one full of suspense and surprise."--Internazionale Praise for Domenico Starnone's Ties"Ties is...the leanest, most understated and emotionally powerful novel by Domenico Starnone."
--Rachel Donadio, The New York Times "Ties is puzzle-like, architectural, a novel ingeniously constructed."
--The New Yorker "Ties is a masterful study of passing time."
--National Post (Canada) "[Ties] is as vivid and devastating as anything you will read this year. A slim, stunning meditation on marriage, fidelity, honesty, and truth."
--Kirkus Reviews(Starred Review) "Scalding and incisive."
--Library Journal (Starred Review) "An expertly crafted short novel that is charmingly intimate, disarmingly chatty and laced with some walloping surprises."
--Shelf Awareness "Ingeniously constructed."
--Financial Times "Absolutely gripping from start to finish... a really stunning book."
--Victoria Hislop, author ofCartes Postales from Greece "Each detail resonates, from the name of the family cat to the idiosyncratic way in which Aldo ties his shoes to his cherished Polaroids. Distinguished by its distinctive characters and clarity of tone, Ties is a gem."
--Jane Ciabattari, BBC "A complex and devastating dissection of a relationship, superbly teased apart and considered from all possible viewpoints."
--The Times "A tight tale of domestic carnage."
--The Times Literary Supplement "The story glints and cuts like smashed crystal."
--Anthony Cummins, The Guardian "A fine piece of story-telling... there is a feel of legerdemain to it--capturing and conveying a great deal in a relatively small space."
--M.A. Orthofer, The Complete Review "Brief, brilliant and unnerving."
--Margot Livesey, author of Mercury "A cleverly crafted psychological thriller, this slim, intimate novel deftly undoes contemporary gender constructions as well as timeless notions of truth, fidelity, and sacrifice."
--Jennifer Tseng, author of Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness "A superlative novel, Ties offers an x-ray image both of love that is love in name only and of destruction, specifically a home torn apart by something that at first seems to be a tornado but turns out to be Starnone's brilliant writing."
--Il Giornale "Ties is a masterfully crafted synthesis of Starnone's storytelling technique and prose style."
--Christian Raimo, Internazionale "Ties is not simply a novel about a couple in crisis, but a work of literature where staged scenes featuring one's unrealized self are propped up by the indestructible scaffolding of marriage."
--Daniela Brogi, Le Parole e le Cose