Thursday, May 3, 2018


Reborn. Close readers of Domenico Starnone’s novel titled, Trick, can explore many different levels of meaning, and find pleasure of one sort or another on every page, thanks to Jhumpa Lahiri’s finely written translation from the Italian. Most of us become set in our ways and it takes some change of location, attitude or relationship to lead us away from one set of behaviors and toward another. Protagonist Daniele Mallarico is an artist and grandfather who has been persuaded by his daughter to return to his childhood home in Naples to care for his four-year-old grandson, Mario, for a few days. Mallarico brings a work assignment with him: illustrations for a new edition of a book. Work is the center of Mallarico’s life and he is struggling with this new assignment. The return to his childhood home is jarring, as is his struggle in caring for Mario after the boy’s parents leave the home. The roles of grandparent and grandchild shift, and in a pivotal scene, the grandfather experiences a violent sort of baptism and becomes born anew, thanks in part to Mario’s competence. With newly opened eyes, the grandfather sees his art in a new light, and sees Mario’s skill in drawing as the boy imitates his grandfather. Meanwhile, the time away from the hone leads Mario’s parents to a rebirth of their own, having broken out of their habitual and broken relationship and into a newly found respect and love for each other. Rating: Five-star (I love it) Click here to purchase Trick from

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