The hottest summer of the twentieth century. A tiny community of five houses in the middle of wheat fields. While the adults shelter indoors, six children venture out on their bikes across the scorched, deserted countryside.
In the midst of that sea of golden wheat, nine year-old Michele Amitrano discovers a secret so momentous, so terrible, that he darent tell anyone about it. To come to terms with it he will have to draw strength from his own imagination and sense of humanity. The reader witnesses a dual story: the one that is seen through Michele's eyes, and the tragedy involving the adults of this isolated hamlet. The result is an immensely powerful, lyrical and skillfully narrated novel, its atmosphere reminiscent of Tom Sawyer, Stephen King's Stand By Me and Italo Calvino's Italian Fairy Tales.
This is Ammaniti's third book, but his first to be published in the USA.
That much he knew. He had fallen into darkness. And at the instant he knew, he ceased to know.'
I was just about to overtake Salvatore when I heard my sister scream. I turned and saw her disappear, swallowed up by the wheat that covered the hill.
I shouldn't have brought her along. Mama would be furious with me.
I stopped. I was sweaty. I got my breath back and called to her: 'Maria? Maria?'
A plaintive little voice answered me: 'Michele.'
'Have you hurt yourself?'
'Yes, come here.'
'Where've you hurt yourself?'
'On the leg.'
She was faking, she was tired. I'm going on, I said to myself. But what if she really was hurt?
Where were the others?
I saw their tracks in the wheat. They were rising slowly, in parallel lines, like the fingers of a hand, towards the top of the hill, leaving a wake of trampled stalks behind them.
The wheat was high that year. In late spring it had rained a...
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