A successful Italian doctor’s idyllic life is shattered by shameful accusations in a novel by the Campiello Prize–winning author of The Worst Intentions.
In a sprawling villa on the outskirts of Rome, the internationally revered pediatric oncologist Leo Pontecorvo and his family have gathered for dinner. For these exemplary members of Italy’s upper middle-class, the scene is perfect in every way—until a horrifying accusation airs on the evening news concerning Leo Pontecorvo himself. From this point on, nothing will ever be the same.
An allegation of embezzling would be bad enough, but to the horror of his family, Leo is also said to have seduced his son’s twelve-year-old girlfriend. The spotlight now turned on Leo reveals every mistake, regret, and contradiction of his lifetime. The details of his private and professional life are debated by both friends and foes, ravenous reporters and punctilious prosecutors. Unable to face the suspicious gazes of his wife and children, Leo descends into the basement of his palatial home—a self-imposed exile in which he attempts to piece together the shattered remains of his life.