The Day Before Happiness

The Day Before Happiness

3.51 (1,866 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by 

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'Happiness - was it right to name it without knowing it? It sounded shameless in my mouth, like when someone shows off about knowing a celebrity and just uses their first name, saying Marcello when they really mean Mastroianni ...'

A young orphan boy grows up in Naples, playing football, roaming the city's streets and hidden places. The older boys call him 'monkey' because he can climb anywhere. He is alone, apart from Don Gaetano, the apartment caretaker, who feeds him, teaches him to play scopa, and tells him stories about women, history and the dark secrets of Naples' past. Then one day the boy sees a young girl standing at a window. It is an encounter that will haunt his life for years and, eventually, shape his destiny.

Lyrical and exuberant, told with the simplicity of a fairy tale and the intensity of a memory, The Day Before Happiness is the story of friendship, a city and what makes us who we are.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 128 pages
  • 142 x 222 x 13mm | 206g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0141398396
  • 9780141398396
  • 701,964

Review quote

The only true first-rate writer that the new millennium has given us so far * Corriere della Serra * Powered by a combination of charm, warmth and simplicity... poignancy gives way to wry humour at regular intervals throughout the book, and the result is a brittle, lyrical, finely poised tragicomedy -- Malcolm Forbes * Herald Scotland * An economically expressed yet vividly imagined coming-of-age story... De Luca is a native of Naples and in a sense this book is a love letter to the city -- Roger Cox * The Scotsman * The story of a risky happiness, the happiness of a city in revolt, of a violent and rediscovered love * Avvenire * Tender, lyrical without apology, and intensely moving * Library Journal * High hopes in clear language, cautions against real evil, and scenes thick with poetic sentiment - these elements fuel the warmth to be found in De Luca's brief but affecting novels * The National * Erri De Luca astonishes us with his trademark vignettes... In The Day Before Happiness, Naples becomes the main character: gracious, ruthless and sensual * Telerama * Magnificent * Express *
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About Erri De Luca

Erri De Luca (Author)
Born in Naples in 1950, Erri De Luca is one of Italy's bestselling novelists, whose work has been translated into many languages. He was awarded the France Culture Prize in 1994, the Femina Etranger in 2002 and, in 2013, he received the European Prize for Literature. He is also a translator from Ancient Hebrew and Yiddish. A passionate mountain climber, he currently lives in the countryside near Rome.
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Review Text

The only true first-rate writer that the new millennium has given us so far Corriere della Serra
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Rating details

1,866 ratings
3.51 out of 5 stars
5 19% (362)
4 33% (611)
3 32% (595)
2 12% (228)
1 4% (70)
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