The BookBrowse Review

Published June 22, 2022

ISSN: 1930-0018

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Book Jacket

The Missing Word
by Concita De Gregorio
5 Jul 2022
112 pages
Publisher: Europa Editions
Genre: Literary Fiction
Peperback Original
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Based on a true story, an urgently told psychological thriller and the fierce portrait of a woman in all her frailty and courage.

Irina's life with her husband and her twin daughters is orderly. An Italian living in Switzerland, she works as a lawyer. One day, something breaks. The marriage ends without apparent trauma, but on a weekend seemingly like any other, the girls' father takes Alessia and Livia away with him. They disappear. A few days later the man takes his own life. Of the girls, there is no trace.

Concita De Gregorio takes the unadorned, terrible facts of this true story and embodies the protagonist's voice. In a narrative that is fast and urgent, she unravels these traumatic events to tell the story of a mother bereft of her children – a state for which there is no word.

The Missing Word delves deep into Irina's thoughts and memories as she grasps at the shreds of truth and, piece by piece, stitches her life back together.

"De Gregorio's remarkably restrained novel follows the events that ripple out in the aftermath of tragedy...[she] constructs her brief but potent novel out of sharp fragments...A quietly devastating but somehow hopeful tale." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"De Gregorio effectively captures the anxiety and disorientation experienced by a woman during a traumatic crisis in this provocative and splintered English-language debut...There's a great deal of intrigue as Irina searches for answers and comfort...which builds on an unsettling theme of horror churning beneath the surface. This will transfix readers." - Publishers Weekly

"Like Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, De Gregorio takes a true story and reveals what life cannot. Extraordinary." - Grazia (Italy)

Concita De Gregorio is a writer, journalist, and broadcaster. One of la Repubblica's best known and long-established columnists, she has written several works of non-fiction on politics and current affairs, as well as women's and children's issues. She was the editor of l'Unità newspaper, and is the creator and host of several successful news and current affairs programs for Italian national radio and television. The Missing Word is her second novel.

Clarissa Botsford studied Italian at Cambridge and Comparative Education in London. She currently teaches English and Translation Studies at Roma Tre University. Her translations from the Italian include Tonight is Already Tomorrow by Lia Levi (Europa, 2021) and Nives by Sacha Naspini (Europa, 2021).

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