Cover image for Ferocity
Lagioia, Nicola, 1973- author.
Uniform Title:
Ferocia. English
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Europa Editions, 2017.
Physical Description:
447 pages ; 21 cm
Southern Italy, the 1980s. On a hot summer's night under a full moon, far from the outlying neighborhoods of a southern Italian metropolis, Clara stumbles naked, dazed, and bloodied down a major highway. When she dies no-one is able to say exactly how or why, but her brother cannot free himself from her memory or from the questions surrounding her death. The more he learns about her life and death, the more he uncovers the moral decay at the core of his family's ascent to social prominence. At once an intimate family saga, a history of an entire region, and a portrait of the moral and political corruption of a whole society, Ferocity is an exhilarating, ambitious, and vivid work of fiction by Italy's foremost literary novelist. --
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Library

On Order



Winner of the 2015 Strega Prize, Italy's preeminent prize for fiction

Ferocity is at once an intimate family saga and a cinematic portrait of the moral and political corruption of an entire society. It is an ambitious, stylish work by one of Italy's foremost novelists.

Bari, southern Italy. On a stifling summer's night, on the outskirts of town, a young woman named Clara--the daughter of the region's most prominent family of real estate developers--stumbles naked, dazed, and bloodied down a major highway. Her death will be deemed a suicide. Her estranged half-brother, however, cannot free himself from her memory or the questions surrounding her death, and the more he learns about Clara's life, the more he reveals the moral decay at the core of his family's ascent to scoial prominence.

Ferocity combines suspense, psychological acutiy, and contemporary realism in a feat of storytelling. It is fierce and relentless in pursuit of its characters' psychological truths, yet lyrical and moving as it describes the natural splendor of Italy ravaged by greed and regulatory negligence.

Author Notes

Nicola Lagioia , born in Bari in 1973, is an editor for the Italian publisher Minimum Fax. He is the author of three novels and a collection of short stories. His books have been awarded the Strega Prize, the Premio Volponi, and the Premio Viareggio, among others. He lives in Rome. Ferocity is his English-language debut.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Though Lagioia's English-languagedebut, his fourth book and the winner of Italy's Strega Prize, will draw comparisons to Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan quartet, it deserves its own classification as complex, darkly absorbing, and mysterious literary fiction. In the southern coastal city of Bari, Clara Salvemini, daughter of a powerful construction magnate, stumbles naked and bloody into the path of a truck on its way back to Taranto, a more industrial city on the other side of Italy's heel. After her death is ruled a suicide, her half-brother, Michele, the closest of her three siblings, is the last to even know she's gone. When Michele returns to Bari from Rome, where he works as a journalist, he's haunted by memories, grief, questions about his sister's death, and his own, simmering demons. Drilling down deeply into many main and secondary characters' stories, Lagioia's prose in Shugaar's translation depicts a family living far from the ease it projects; loyalties and betrayals painted in shades of gray; and a violently alive setting that plays off its characters.--Bostrom, Annie Copyright 2017 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In Lagioia's powerful novel, Clara Salvemini's violent death is ruled a suicide, causing her estranged brother, Michele, to return to the family villa to investigate. Growing up, Clara was the only member of the family to treat Michele, a son of the patriarch's mistress, with any kindness. His return reminds the family of their shame at his confounding childhood behavior, his stints in mental hospitals, and his very existence. As he tries to understand the family's story of Clara leaping to her death, he discovers the rotten core of his father's real estate empire that relies on bribery, shady accounting, and blackmail. In particular, the family's most recent development of resort condos has fallen under suspicion for its environmental impacts and threatens to ruin all the Salvemini patriarch has worked for. Lagioia drifts between timelines as Clara's family, lovers, and acquaintances slowly reveal how she drew them into the web of the Salveminis and how they witnessed her unraveling. This oblique kaleidoscopic approach allows the mystery to slowly and captivatingly resolve while offering a layered portrait of contemporary Italian life and the abuses of power that money can excuse. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

When we first meet Clara Salvemini, daughter of the corrupt, manipulative head of a formidable building empire, she is caught in glaring headlights as she stumbles bloodied and naked down the highway. Later, we're told that that her death is a suicide, and we know something disturbing is going on. Lagioia, who won the Strega Prize for this remarkable novel, portrays a family wrecked by patriarchal stranglehold; a daughter who both defends and defies her father; and the deep rottenness of a society that bends low to power, which make this work biting social commentary as well as edge-of-seat reading. The Salvemini children include oldest Ruggero, unable to escape his father's sway; self-indulged youngest Gioia, seemingly a child at 26; and Michele, son of his father's mistress, uneasily integrated into the family; he's awkward, antisocial, and closely bonded to Clara. The indelibly drawn Clara, riven by alcohol and pills, is a serial adulteress and participant in hard porn, and her mysterious death shakes her immediate world. The narrative is satisfyingly packed and textured beyond the needs of basic plot; often, two events or conversations take place simultaneously, dizzily clarifying the characters' mental states and motivations. VERDICT A rich and readable cautionary tale for strong-minded readers. © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.