The Day Before Happiness by Erri De Luca

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Synopsis

Just after World War II, a young orphan living in Naples comes under the protection of Don Gaetano, the superintendent of an apartment building. He is a generous man and is very attached to the boy, telling him about the war and the liberation of the city by the Neapolitans. He teaches him to play cards, shows him how to do odd jobs for the tenants, and even initiates him into the world of sex by sending him one evening to a widow who lives in the building. But Don Gaetano possesses another gift as well: he knows how to read people’s thoughts and guesses correctly that his young friend is haunted by the image of a girl he noticed by chance behind a window during a soccer match. Years later, when the girl returns, the orphan will need Don Gaetano’s help more than ever.
 

About Erri De Luca

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Erri de LucaErri de Luca was born in Naples in 1950 and lives near Rome today. He is the author of several novels, including God's Mountain and Sea of Memory.Michael F. MooreMichael F. Moore is a New York-based translator and scholar whose previous translations include God's Mountain by Erri de Luca, and The Silence of the Body by Guido Ceronetti. He is currently working on a new translation of The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni.
 
Published November 1, 2011 by Other Press. 189 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Day Before Happiness

Kirkus Reviews

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The narrator, an orphan, grows up a young man in postwar Naples, tutored by Don Gaetano, an apartment super and wise old man who was out of sympathy with the Fascists.

Sep 20 2011 | Read Full Review of The Day Before Happiness

BC Books

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It is obvious that Mr. De Luca does not think of people as numbers.

Nov 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Day Before Happiness

BC Books

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Don Gaetano is a generous man and gets attached to the young man telling him about the war and the liberation of the city by its inhabitants.

Nov 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Day Before Happiness

Examiner

Years pass, the boy is now becoming a man and Don Gaetano has begun teaching him the ways of love, including sending him up to visit a widow who needs lots of things “fixed” in her apartment.

Jan 02 2012 | Read Full Review of The Day Before Happiness

Historical Novel Society

The title comes from something the Jew tells Don Gaetano when he asks him to cast a stone in the water for him the day before the Jewish New Year, making that day the day before happiness.

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