Never the Wind (Titan Books, June 2022). Cover design by Julia Lloyd
I first learned about Francesco Dimitri’s new novel Never the Wind when I heard Paul Tremblay describe it as “”Susanna Clarke meets Robert Aikman,” not exactly a description I hear every day. Publishers Weekly calls it “truly spooky…plenty here to fascinate fans of cerebral horror.”
That was more than enough to pique my interest. I set out to learn more and quickly found Dimitri’s guest post at Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, My Favorite Bit:, where he discusses the narrative use of magic. It certainly cemented my interest — but I also found the way he approached magic on the page fascinating, and enormously useful for anyone using the supernatural in fiction.
Here’s a brief excerpt.
When I mention magic, I mean something that cannot be described in a straight-forward way, like love cannot be described. We had moments in our life when a kiss was more than a kiss, and we had moments when a shadow was more than a shadow, but we cannot just describe those moments, can we? We need stories, music, art, ritual, to talk about them – and if we are lucky to make sense of them, a little.
I believe our world is much more peculiar than we realise while we are taken by the overwhelming power of the daily grind – bills, jobs, broken cars, those myriad little things which may be meaningless in the grand scheme of the universe but still rule our life, by necessity. I believe that reality is only mundane when we are too busy to look well enough. Get close and you’ll see the cracks, the impurities, the strange lights. Everything stable and clear-cut is only such for a while.
That’s a fabulous way to describe the power of fiction — as a way to talk about the magical and unexplained moments in our own lives. Read the whole thing at Mary’s blog here.
What’s the book about, then? Here’s a snippet from Azucchi’s review at the Book Nook.
Never the Wind tells of the events from the summer of ’96, the year Luca Saracino moved south from the city of Turin after losing his sight, and his parents decide to build a new life – and a new business – out of his grandfather’s old grange. As Luca learns to navigate his new home without his sight, he begins to sense a sinister presence around the property and in the fields, which manifests in an absence of any sound other than a soft tap, tap, and in an acrid feral smell.
Tied to this mystery is the start of his friendship with Ada Guadalupi, the girl next door, who takes him under her wing and believes his story about this wanderer he has encountered. She becomes his world for the summer; the one who treats him as just Luca instead of ‘Luca the blind boy’, and takes him on all kinds of adventures. But Ada has secrets too…
This is a story which will stay with me, and grow larger in my mind in the act of remembering it… it is raw, lyrical, and utterly unique. I think a part of me fully believes it, and so the next time I find myself in Puglia, I will pay close attention to the wind.
Never the Wind was published by Titan Books on June 7, 2022. It is 319 pages, priced at $15.95 in trade paperback and $9.99 in digital formats. The cover design is by the talented Julia Lloyd.
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