Lives of the Saints
What really happened to Vittorio’s mother that day in the stable? That she’d been bitten by a snake was clear enough: the swelling in her ankle proved it. But that other swelling, the one that led eventually to his mother’s long, loose dresses, to those dark, cold stares from the other villagers – what strange thing could be taking shape there in his mother’s belly, and what doom would it carry them all to?
Set in Valle del Sole, a tiny village nestled in the folds of the Italian Appenines like a world forgotten, Lives of the Saints tells the story of young Vittorio Innocente and of this mother, Cristina, whose affair with a mysterious blue-eyed stranger abrupty shatters the innocence of Vittorio’s childhood. As he tries to piece together the truth of his mother’s crime, we discover throug hVittorio’s eyes the dark underside of Valle de Soles pastoral claim: the hypocrisy and malice that breed within the cloak of the villagers’ self-righteousness, and the age-old superstitions and fears, vestiges of a pagan past, that lurk beneath their veneer of Christianity and Catholicism. But sinner or saint, Cristina is irrepressible and, finally, it is her defiance that the villagers cannot bear, her refusal to be defeated by them even as her world crumbles.
Author: Nino Ricci