What is the book about?
“Four old school friends have a pact: to meet up every year in the small town in Puglia they grew up in. Art, the charismatic leader of the group and creator of the pact, insists that the agreement must remain unshakable and enduring. But this year, he never shows up.
A visit to his house increases the friends’ worry; Art is farming marijuana. In Southern Italy doing that kind of thing can be very dangerous. They can’t go to the Carabinieri so must make enquiries of their own. This is how they come across the rumours about Art; bizarre and unbelievable rumours that he miraculously cured the local mafia boss’s daughter of terminal leukaemia. And among the chaos of his house, they find a document written by Art, The Book of Hidden Things, that promises to reveal dark secrets and wonders beyond anything previously known.” – GoodReads
This was the best book I read in the year 2020. It was so good that when I was finished reading the book, I purchased a hard copy and put the hard copy in my personal book collection so that I could read the book in the future as well. I began reading this book on a Sunday during a night coach on the way to my university. I paused when the covid out break happened and resumed when I got time. The book was simply amazing and when I finished the book I was genuinely saddened because I didn’t want this book to end.
I liked so many things about the book. For one, the book had a distinctive yet familiar style of Italian friends figuring out a mystery together. In the process, the readers get to see how a young group of Italians would socialize, live, love and dream. Every character had a unique yet strong personality and at times the readers would resonate with the various different characters. For example, Art wanted to escape from the world we know and that was incredibly relatable. The prospect of a new world to live in where all your desires could be fulfilled was incredibly amazing and the readers could all sympathize with him.
Fabio, during his younger years, committing adultery might have seemed like something that’s horrendous from the outside but at a microscopic level the readers can see how this situation almost felt natural. That’s not to say that adultery is correct but that sometimes situations aren’t black and white. This is of course why he was forgiven by Mauro (the partner of the woman Fabio slept with who was also Fabio’s best friend).Furthermore, the closeness of the friendship was something I enjoyed. The friends wouldn’t judge one another but rather they just accepted each of their friends for who they were. For example the friends of Art didn’t make a fuss about Art smoking weed but more about what mysteries Art was getting up to.
Lastly, what I enjoyed about this story most was the adventure it put the readers through. From the beginning, the characters found out that Art was missing and so they went on a deductive hunt finding out cracking open this mystery. An adventure that we got to enjoy as the reader. There was nothing that I disliked about this book which is why it is one of my favorite books of all time. For me, this book is a 5/5 star book that everyone should read.
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