The House at the Edge of Night
Castellamare is an island far enough away from the mainland to be forgotten, but not far enough to escape from the world’s troubles. At the center of the island’s life is a café draped with bougainvillea called the House at the Edge of Night, where over generations the community gathers to gossip and talk. Amedeo Esposito, a foundling from Florence, finds his destiny on the island with his beautiful wife, Pina, whose fierce intelligence, grace, and unwavering love guide her every move. An indiscretion tests their marriage, and their children—three sons and an inquisitive daughter—grow up and struggle with both humanity’s cruelty and its capacity for love and mercy. Spanning nearly a century, through secrets and mysteries, trials and sacrifice, this beautiful and haunting novel follows the lives of the Esposito family and the other islanders who live and love on Castellamare: a cruel count and his bewitching wife, a priest who loves scandal, a prisoner of war turned poet, an outcast girl who becomes a pillar of strength, a wounded English soldier who emerges from the sea. The people of Castellamare are transformed by two world wars and a great recession, by the threat of fascism and their deep bonds of passion and friendship, and by bitter rivalries and the power of forgiveness, in this richly written and powerful novel.
Catherina Benner writes beautifully and has a lot of talent. Anyone who reads a page from The House at the Edge of Night knows that. If you’re looking for a compelling, well-written family saga, this is the right choise for you.
This is the story about the Esposito family who lives in the Castellamare island. Castellamare is a very special place: it’s pretty small, its residents are wonderfully weird and there are lot of stories and secrets hidden. The main character, Amedeo Esposito, is a fan of tales and legends and he always encourages everyone to share their stories with him. We’ll get to learn them all by reading the first pages of every part of the book: these tales are funny and mysterious.
This book reminded me of The House of Spirits and A hundred years of solitude: it is a fascinating family saga that spans almost a hundred years. If you liked those books, you should really try this one.
What I loved the most about this book was the wonderful writing. There’s a bit of everything here: love stories, family matters, adventures, wars… Every character has a different, unique voice and the author takes time with each of them.
My only problem with this kind of stories is that I always like the first generation best and I lose a bit of interest afterwards. The book was a bit long and I’m afraid I loved Amedeo more than I loved their grandsons. But nevertheless, this is a great book, original and magical, unlike anything we usually read.
I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.