“It never happens: faith and hope do not interact with the things of the world.”
The Milanese railing houses have a particular history, hidden over the decades by real estate speculations and layers of renovations done in a hurry, in order to be able to resell at exorbitant prices what were once social housing of zero value, for the last people of the society. A charm known to very few, perhaps only to those who have inhabited them, and carries the memory in the depths of their hearts, like the protagonist of the story: Cristina Parenti.
Specifically, the story of a railing house in the city center is told (in street Cicco Simonetta for those familiar with Milan), donated in the early 1900s by a philanthropist to the homeless, who would then have been expropriated by the Municipality in the name of an alleged urban redevelopment.
Those evictions, made by crushing the rights of those who could not fight to report a clear abuse, will be the background from which to arrive at the resolution of a series of crimes that will involve the former residents of the building and a publishing house, in which many of the characters are employed with different tasks. A full-blown thriller, with slow rhythms, at times perhaps too sleepy, but which can be read with pleasure.
To disappoint us (or perhaps disillusion us?) is the setting of the story. We would have preferred to find a more incisive image of Milan between the pages, as anticipated by the title of the book and the cover. In our opinion, a greater involvement of the city, of its vital breath, would have given a different depth to the crime novel.
Writing is the most pleasant note in the book, and this is where our compliments go to the author. A natural gift in constructing light but penetrating sentences, to make reading enjoyable well beyond the story being told. A gift that we like to underline because it is very difficult to find among modern authors; and also because even when the story loses its bite, she is able to keep the reader’s attention alive.
Rosa Ida D’Emidio, Milanese railing houses, Eclissi, Milano, 2019