When the Night by Cristina Comencini

78%

10 Critic Reviews

A director and screenwriter as well as a novelist, Comencini is adept at creating an extraordinary portrait of psychologically scarred characters.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Manfred, a surly mountaineer recently abandoned by his wife, rents the upstairs apartment in his home in the Dolomites to Marina, a woman from the city, and her difficult young son. Deeply suspicious by nature, especially of women, Manfred spies obsessively on Marina, in whose shortcomings as a mother he finds resonances of his own mother’s desertion of him in childhood. When Marina’s frustration over her son’s refusal to eat or sleep leads her to harm the child, Manfred steps in, and the silent power struggle between them escalates. Yet Manfred’s attraction to Marina is as powerful as his distrust. In this alternately shocking and moving novel, Cristina Comencini has created a complex, psychologically profound portrait of two damaged, vulnerable people and the painful bond that develops between them as they are drawn into each other’s worlds.
 

About Cristina Comencini

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Cristina Comencini is an Italian novelist, screenwriter, and director. Her 2005 film, based on her novel La bestia nel cuore, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. She is currently finishing her film adaptation of When the Night. Marina Harss studied comparative literature and translation at Harvard and New York University. Her translations include Pier Paolo Pasolini's Stories from the City of God (Other Press), as well as Conjugal Love and Two Friends, both by Alberto Moravia. Her translations have appeared in The Latin American Review, Bomb, and Brooklyn Rail.
 
Published April 24, 2012 by Other Press. 257 pages
Genres: Other, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for When the Night
All: 10 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Excellent
Mar 15 2012

A director and screenwriter as well as a novelist, Comencini is adept at creating an extraordinary portrait of psychologically scarred characters.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by John Williams on Jun 22 2012

Comencini’s novel starts with the promising tone of a thriller in a remote region, but it ends as a strained psychosexual drama.

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Publishers Weekly

Below average
Feb 27 2012

Comencini’s...narrative suffers from bone-dry prose, hasty shifts in tense and POV, and too many beat-by-beat chronicles of her characters’ interior thoughts.

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City Book Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Margo Orlando Littell on May 08 2012

When the Night is a haunting portrait of wives, husbands, mothers—and the lingering effects even small decisions and actions can have throughout a life.

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Arts Fuse

Excellent
Reviewed by Roberta Silman on May 11 2012

Sometimes a book comes along that startles you into realizing—again, and happily—how powerful good fiction can be.

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The Coffin Factory

Excellent
Apr 30 2012

Comencini knows that love more often ends in hatred, rather than happily ever after. Reflecting this reality, Comencini’s writing is as clean, spare, and intimidating as the novel’s alpine setting.

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Belletrista

Excellent
Reviewed by Judy Lim

When the Night is a psychological drama which will keep the reader on edge throughout. Comencini's spare style is well suited to a story which is both disquieting and engaging.

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Curled Up

Good
Reviewed by Luan Gaines

With great skill and remarkable sleight of hand, Comencini turns this barren winter landscape into a love story as surprising as it is passionate and riven with self-doubt.

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Sarah Reads Too Much

Good
Reviewed by Sarah on Apr 24 2012

This really is an incredible psychological examination of the duality of emotion. I found it thought provoking, jarring and intimate.

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Tzer Island

Good
Apr 23 2012

This short novel virtually chisels its characters from the mountains that surround them, exposing multiple facets, sharp edges, hidden features and cold facades.

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