Reviewed in the United States on January 13, 2020
(Purchased at a book club book signing)
Apparently, this is Mark Thompson's first novel. That's amazing, as his ability to tell this story from Umberto's first-person point of view is deft and sure and hooked me from the opening to the end. He tells the story of an Italian orphan boy, Umberto Autore, growing up in a convent, under the Nazi occupation in Italy and he manages to communicate both the fear and destruction all around him along with the excitement and joy of an imaginative, sensitive kid, learning about life, love, loss, friendship, cruelty, and kindness, and taking it all in. It is essentially a biography, but the author had to bind many fragmentary stories together into a cohesive narrative and he does that brilliantly. I am definitely looking forward to the sequel, as there's much more to tell. Bravo, Autore!