Sandro Veronesi’s Strega Prize (Italy’s top literary award) winning novel Quiet Chaos ended up being the perfect book for me to read in terms of timing; started in Amagansett, grabbing a few pages here and there during the weeks of my wedding, and finishing in the days immediately after at Fire Island. It was a book that required concentration and a certain headspace but also one I responded to immediately with a writing style that very simply made sense to me. I was amazed by the way Veronesi was able to capture so much of the world so effortlessly, to put his whole day on paper catching all the little thoughts that fly by, the ones we so rarely stop to examine. There was a raw honesty in the way he exposed his thought pattern, both good and bad unfiltered, that felt balanced and made me trust him more with each passing page. I admired Pietro’s clarity and unique point of view, the way he handled people and situations. He was very much the kind of man I’d like to be and I found myself both admiring and relating to him. There was so much life in this book, so much to think and be curious about, so many stories to tell. I love when writers are able to remind us of this simple truth, that the complexity of our everyday lives contains all the drama, suspense and mystery necessary to fill a great novel. I’ve always felt it is one of the greatest things a writer can aspire to and Veronesi does it here with style and grace. This is a book about modern living with sharp observations on corporate and celebrity culture, technology and even references to Radiohead, whose lyrics actually become one of the novel’s many great storylines. But it is also a timeless meditation on love, marriage, fidelity, family and parenting and it is here that the book gains its real depth. The character’s are very typically Italian but this only adds some nicely flavored details to the universal themes. Quiet Chaos is an extraordinary story and a remarkable book with a lasting resonance from an extremely talented writer and one that I already look forward to returning to at some point in my life. I was also happy to discover that the film version starring the great Nanni Morretti is available on Netflix streaming, although I’m not sure the translation to film will be able to capture all the beautiful nuance of the novel.

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