In the sign of the moth

“When you know each other since childhood and growing old together, friendship is something indefinable, precious.”

A book halfway between thriller and adventure, with a sprinkling of sociology on the surface and a filling of history. Too demanding? No, far from it, very enthusiastic. The protagonist of the second appointment of the “Stazione BooktoMi 2022” review, the reading of the book quickly turned from a duty to a pleasure. With the greatest merit of having brought us to the bookstore to buy other books by the same author.

The story told is divided in two in time and space, which once metabolized the framework of the same, is appreciated more than one is willing to admit. Have we also fallen under the influence of some African spell? Who knows, but if so, don’t free us!

What force has the power to keep Eritrea and Italy connected after more than thirty years of apparent distance? What force can be more incisive than the actions of men, the firing of cannons, the aerial bombardments, the claims of a “place in the sun”? Only one: resentment.

To find out on his skin will be the journalist Massimo Arcani, who, in a hot Milanese summer at the beginning of the 2000s, will lose his life at the hands of an unknown or presumed one. The investigation into the murder will lead to unexpected revelations, for some unbearable, about a previous series of killings that occurred in Asmara thirty years earlier. A journey back in time, to question the inconsistencies of modern society, both in Italy and beyond, in particular for that small problem often denied which is called racial discrimination.

We appreciated the surprise ending revealed in a few pages much less, we would have preferred a more gradual path towards the last twist, it would have strengthened the text in its entirety, but it could be a simple personal taste not shared by other readers.

The writing is elegant. Not courtly, but kind in the ways and in the syntax, in line with the refinement of the author, which we are not afraid to define a human library, with a broad knowledge and vision of the world, and which has successfully managed to this book.


Erminia Dell’Oro, In the sign of the moth, La tartaruga, Milano, 2021

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