A Small Thing About to Explode

Short Stories
Titolo originale: Una cosa piccola che sta per esplodere
Published: giugno 2013
Pagine: 156

Winner of 2009 Fucini Prize
Winner of 2008 Settembrini Prize
Finalist for the 2008 Chiara Prize
Shortlisted for the 2008 Kriterion Prize

After his previous astonishing debut with Handbook for successful girls, Paolo Cognetti is back in Italian bookstores with a new collection of short stories. This time the author’s unifying theme is the most sensitive, violent, and painful age of life—adolescence. Whether focusing on wealthy, twisted, fascinating girls committed to a clinic for the anorexic, or kids hurtling into the solitude of their parents’ disintegrating marriage, the adolescence explored in these short stories becomes a game of roulette in which it is the future that is at stake; the moment, painful and keenly felt, in which the protagonist becomes aware of his or her identity, and discovers sex, friendship, and the cruelty of life, while striving to transform all these elements into an opportunity for redemption and emancipation. With the intense and precise writing that won him his first popularity, and a perfect mastery of the way things intertwine, Paolo Cognetti proves once again that he is one of the best new writers at describing everyday life. And, more important, one of the few writers able to keep his readers’ rapt interest from the first page to the last.