The House in Via Manno
A young Sardinian woman narrates the story of her beloved, beautiful, and somewhat crazy grandmother, and in the telling evokes a whole family, the unique landscape of her country, and an aspect of history, including the Second World War, from a perspective unusual for Australian readers. Her grandmother, her nonna, is a dreamer who yearns for a love that eludes her. She marries a man, the narrator's nonno, who arrives in the village having lost his house and family in a bombing raid. Their relationship is warm but loveless. It is only when nonna visits thermal baths for the treatment of her kidney-stones that she finds the perfect, vivid love that she has yearned for - with the Veteran, a crippled, married man suffering from the same illness. This is a small novel, but not a simple one. The themes of the novel are grounded in characters and landscapes that are intense and real, but move into areas that are universally profound: the deep frustrations and loyalties within a family; the irrational sexual desires of a married couple; and the way that being born in a particular place at a particular point in history will shape these relationships.