Four teenage boys stand on a bridge in the rain, staring down at a fast-flowing river. They’re not talking; they’re all thinking about the beautiful and enigmatic Andre—only a few months before, she had piled on every piece of clothing she owned and jumped into the black water below. Since then, the boys have been obsessed with the girl who tried to kill herself—the girl who takes men one after another into the bathroom of the local cinema, and who is forcing these devout Catholic boys to question everything they know about devotion, desire, and sin.
A haunting novel from one of the masters of contemporary European fiction, Emmaus brilliantly evokes the perils and uncertainties of youth.
You can find the McSweeney’s Books Preview of Emmaus right over here!
The Arts Fuse reviewed Emmaus right here.
Emmaus was nominated for the Impac Dublin Awards!
Praise for Emmaus:
“Imagine a Virgin Suicides in which the boys, not the girls, are consumed and destroyed by the crypto-religious energies of adolescence. Imagine a book that will make you wish you could be a teenage Italian Catholic boy the way reading Astonishing X-Men #1-24 will make you wish you could be a Mutant, despite the enormous and somewhat equivalent difficulties involved on either count. Imagine writing which renders so precisely the experience of being simultaneously alienated and at home in a life that it feels sometimes, just like life, too beautiful to bear. And imagine a novel that seems finally to warrant that word that every sensible person believes ought rightfully only to be applied to things which actually glow: luminous. Now stop imagining these things; Alessandro Baricco has already imagined them all, and made them real in Emmaus.”
“Emmaus operates at such high intensity that all three times I set the book down—twice to make coffee, once to eat a small lunch—my eyes took minutes to readjust, so flat and muddy and standard definition did the world around me appear by comparison.”
—Adam Levin, author of Hot Pink and The Instructions
“Alessandro Baricco’s new novel is about religion and sin, the sacred and the blasphemous, but perhaps above all about life, about the complicated and painful ways in which we approach it, the prices we pay, the losses and gains that add up to a figure that is always open-ended. It’s an eternal story—not new yet always containing original elements that can render it authentic, possible, verifiable, if we know how to see it.”
”Emmaus is a book about how difficult it is to see truly, in all times and in our own time. Thus it is the story of a fiction—that is to say a universe molded over time—that shatters under pressure of the cruelties of truth. But, at the same time, it is also the story of how, amid the ruins, the confusing world of resurrection appears.”
“A short, haunting philosophical novel.”
“The haunting prose is soaked in a poetic sense of doom and brokenness, a hard-edged working-class lyricism reminiscent of Tillie Olson’s dustbowl classic Yonnondio.”
—The Daily Beast
“A riveting read”
“It’s the sinister caprice with which he and his characters seem to take in blowing out their fine lines that takes this from being a beautifully written novel, to being a beautifully human novel.”
—City Book Review
Praise for Silk:
“Silk has the brilliant colors…and the enchantment of a miniature…Vividly erotic.”
—Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered