When winter comes, man and dog are snowed in. With stocks of wine and bread depleted, they pass the time squabbling over scraps, debating who will eat the other first. Spring brings a more sinister discovery that threatens to break Adelmo Farandola’s already faltering grip on reality: a man’s foot poking out of the receding snow.

Adelmo is a man after my own heart – he doesn’t like people and prefers to spend his life living alone out of the way in the mountains, roaming the valleys and venturing into town only when he needs supplies. He seems to find comfort in the solitude, but sometimes being alone so much plays games on your mind and that is what is explored brilliantly, and beautifully in this book.
I didn’t quite know what to make of this book from the start but the more time you spend with Adelmo, then the more you get to understand his ways. But the more time you spend in his presence, the more you realise his mind isn’t quite coping with life – he is forgetting about trips he’s made to the town or people he has spoken to, and resents the fact that a ranger keeps an eye on him as he sees it as interfering and just wants to be left alone.
The only friendship he seems to allow is with a dog who starts hanging around him, and won’t be scared off and it was really quite touching to see moments shared between them – they really form a sweet bond and he begins to feel quite settled having him around. He doesn’t feel threatened by the dog as he seems to do with people. To him, the things happening seem so real so when he meets people who recount the story differently, he feels extremely threatened and scared by their recollection.
I loved how it explores the fragility of the mind, set in spectacular surroundings, and the language used was just the perfect pitch of showing how loneliness can take its’ toll – it’s dark, touching, tragic, funny and heartbreaking and for a book of only 120 pages it really packs a punch and will stay with me for quite some time.

(Books and me!)

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