Massimiliano Virgilio, Il tempo delle stelle [The Time of the Stars], Rizzoli, 2023
Massimiliano Virgilio, Il tempo delle stelle [The Time of the Stars] is a powerful novel. As with his previous novels, at a certain point in the narrative it takes a leap and leaves the reader breathless. This latest book is a contemporary story about a couple with a problem that is widespread today, which is infertility. The issue in the story is unresolved and leaves the two protagonists in their forties to face the reality of not becoming parents. It is interesting that the narrative voice is male. Along with the rituals of visits to doctors, check-ups and their attempts to have a child, all of which mark a turning point in the couple’s relationship, there are particular situations that concern the couple’s jobs, regarding parenthood from different perspectives. In fact, the woman is a social worker who runs a facility for children in difficulty, while he a journalist grappling with a terrible case (a case that actually did happen) in the Neapolitan province. For half the book everything proceeds in an increasingly dramatic but linear manner. At a certain point, everything jumps and spaces open up that lead down into the unknown depths and recesses of the two protagonists who we discover have not told each other everything about so many parts of their lives.