The Year of Our Love will be released on June 22nd, 2021 by acclaimed Italian author Caterina Bonvicini. A sweeping romantic drama set in Bologna and Rome over the course of nearly four decades, The Year of Our Love chronicles the history of contemporary Italy through one couple’s relationship – a fervent affair rooted in friendship that transcends the boundaries of social class. Already a success in Europe, Other Press is excited to introduce this resonant, heartfelt novel to U.S. readers.
Opening in 1975 at the height of the Years of Lead (a tumultuous period of both right- and left-wing violence in Italy that lasted until the late 1980s) and spanning through the three cabinets of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (1994-2011) and beyond, The Year of Our Love tells the story of Valerio Carnevale and Olivia Morganti from early childhood to adolescence to adulthood. Valerio, the son of the wealthy Morganti family’s gardener and housekeeper, grows up alongside Olivia. Despite their differing socioeconomic backgrounds, the two are inseparable; they are driven to preschool together by Olivia’s grandfather, Gianni, and read stories and Shakespeare plays by her lively grandmother, Manon. At age 5, Valerio and Olivia innocently kiss each other, a moment that seals their star-crossed fate and presages a decades-long romance that weathers distance and time.
When his parents’ separation forces Valerio to move from the comfort of Bologna to Rome, where his mother’s new boyfriend, a petty criminal, lives in a borgata (working-class suburb), Valerio and Olivia write letters to one another to stay in touch. After graduating high school, Valerio chooses to attend university in Bologna, so he can be near Olivia once more. Though they date briefly, they drift apart in the whirlwind of their 20s. Olivia impulsively marries a dandy with bohemian ideals, while Valerio pursues a career in real estate development, sacrificing his dream to work in law in favor of a more practical path. Yet, no matter how their lives twist and turn, destiny keeps bringing them back to each other. Relishing chance encounters and stolen moments, Valerio and Olivia rediscover the pure love that first blossomed between them as children.
Releasing in June, the month during which Italians celebrate Festa della Repubblica (Republic Day, a national holiday commemorating the end of monarchic rule on June 2, 1946), The Year of Our Love offers a spirited portrayal of the ups and downs of romantic and familial affection. Through the lives of her vibrant, unforgettable characters, Bonvicini deftly captures the shifting mood and milieu of Italy over the past 40 years.
About the Author
Caterina Bonvicini lives between Rome and Milan and holds a degree in Modern Literature from the University of Bologna. Her novel L’equilibrio degli squali (2008) was hugely acclaimed and won Premio Rapallo, Premio Fregene, and Premio Frignano in Italy, and Grand Prix de l’Héroïne Madame Figaro in France. It was followed by Il sorriso lento (2010), Correva l’anno del nostro amore (2014), Tutte le donne di (2016), and Fancy Red (2018). Her books have been translated in several countries.
About the Translator
Antony Shugaar is a writer and translator. His recent translations include Kill the Father and Kill the Angel by Sandrone Dazieri, The Catholic School by Edoardo Albinati, Everything Is Broken Up and Dances by Edoardo Nesi and Guido Maria Brera, and Notes on a Shipwreck by Davide Enia.
Praise For The Year of Our Love
In Italy, the heir to an industrial fortune and the son of the family’s gardener and maid cross paths throughout the years. – Nytimes.com
In a novel focused on dark, messy relationships, acclaimed Italian writer Bonvicini creates satisfying characters who are charming, short-sighted, selfish, and loving. Her rendering of the politics and social structure of Italy from 1975 to 2013 have a nuanced authority, and the blend of the personal and political feels authentic and adds depth and significance to the story. Readers of Beautiful Ruins (2012) by Jess Walters, Like Water for Chocolate (1992) by Laura Esquivel, and Gabriel García Márquez will appreciate the star-crossed pain Bonvicini delivers from start to finish. – Booklist
Acclaimed Italian author Caterina Bonvicini delivers a big, bold, all-encompassing novel in The Year of Our Love, a deeply engrossing 40-year love story influenced by historical events that occurred in Italy over decades…Through short, perfectly selected and astutely crafted scenes, Bonvicini depicts episodes from the lives of Olivia and Valerio over the next four decades in an Italy where corruption—in both personal lives and the society at large—is endemic…High drama and moments of great wisdom flesh out themes centered on the perils of upward mobility, appearances for appearance’s sake and allegiance to marriage and family. Chilling, stark realities force some characters—including a very strong, vividly rendered supporting cast—to become victims of the dark era in which they live. In stunning prose, translated by Antony Shugaar, Bonvicini renders an intricately plotted contemporary Italian epic where the fate of her star-crossed lovers is magnified by the crushing influence of familial and societal forces…exquisitely written. – Shelf Awareness
Sweeping, surprising, and bristling with specificity, this novel combines the best ingredients of a love story with unflinching snapshots of a contemporary Italy roiled by violence, corruption, and social upheaval. The clarity, honesty, and veracity of Bonvicini’s writing will conquer you from page one. The first work of this acclaimed author to appear in English, thanks to Antony Shugaar’s supple translation, is cause for celebration. – Jhumpa Lahiri, author of Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake
Preorder The Year of Our Love today via otherpress’ website.