Published by Eyewear Publishing on March 12th 2018
Tommaso has escaped discovery for thirty years but a young private investigator, Will, has tracked him down. Tommaso asks him to pretend never to have found him. To persuade Will, Tommaso recounts the story of his life and his great love. In the process, he comes to recognise his true role in the events which unfolded, and the legacy of unresolved grief. Now he's being presented with a second chance - but is he ready to pay the price it exacts? THAT SUMMER IN PUGLIA is a tale of love, loss, the perils of self-deception and the power of compassion. Puglia offers an ideal setting: its layers of history are integral to the story, itself an excavation of a man's past; Tommaso's increasingly vivid memories of its sensuous colours, aromas and tastes, and of how it felt to love and be loved, eventually transform the discomforting tone with which he at first tries to keep Will and painful truths at a distance. This remarkable debut combines a gripping plot and perceptive insights into human nature with delicate lyricism.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for That Summer in Puglia by Valeria Vescina. In addition to jet lag, I’m now officially suffering from the dreaded Book Hangover Syndrome. This is my first blog tour as part of the #BTEAM with Bookcollective and I’m thrilled to be sharing my thoughts on this book today.
When Tommaso is found by a private investigator thirty years after leaving Pulia, he pleads that his whereabouts not be disclosed. In a conversation that spans the better part of twenty-four hours, Tommaso tells his story to Will, the P.I., in the hopes that he will understand and therefore comply with his wishes to remain in the life he has created for himself in England.
There is so much I want to sat about this book that I hardly know where to begin. Valeria Vescina writes beautifully. She creates an unbelievable sense of atmosphere and nostalgia. Her depictions of the landscape and architecture of Puglia have made it me want to visit this town I’d heard little of but am now slightly obsessed with.
The characters and their relationships to one another are extremely complex. As much as I loved Tommaso and Anna, I also found myself frustrated with and saddened by them at times. I was definitely invested.
What I loved most about this book was that it was a very emotional read. Yes, it’s a love story but it’s so much more than a love story. It’s a reminder of how things can go so very wrong when we try so very hard to do right by those we love. It’s about communication and miscommunication and redemption. It’s about the expectations we have of our parents and those we have of our children. It’s about how we differ in our reactions to anger and grief. I could go on and on. In short, it’s about all of the things that make us fragile, vulnerable, human…
That Summer in Puglia is a beautiful, character-driven novel I won’t soon forget. If you read it, I’d love to chat. This is definitely a perfect book club choice and I’m keen to talk it over with other readers. This book is an impressive debut and I’d certainly love to read more books by Valeria Vescina in the future.
Many thanks to Eyewear Publishing and Bookollective for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.