Castelluccio in Tuscany is preparing for its annual festival, where we encounter an interesting group of characters.
Central to the plot is the self-exiled English artist Gideon Westfall, who receives an unwelcome visitor from the past that he has left behind: his niece. She demands answers from Gideon – answers that he cannot or will not answer. The novel has many other strands running though including the mysterious disappearance of a young woman that may be connected to Gideon.
Nostalgia is beautifully crafted with fine and evocative language. As the novel unfolds we also witness some of the past story of Castelluccio. Little snippets of architecture, art, history and myths shift backwards as an aside to the plot. These little vignettes are skillfully observed and serve to create a voice to the landscape and succeed in adding a sense of a rich and cultural past. An interesting read, the book perfectly captures the beauty and sensuality of the Italian landscape and the richness of its history. The author really manages to pull together all the threads and produce a satisfying read that works on many levels.