This novel has a very particular and personal meaning to me. I've read "Paese d'ombre" in unique circumstances while my thoughts were completely caught by someone I have, in a certain way, lost.
Previously I had already read "Il disertore" by the same author (who is uneasy to find on both, Amazon and Goodreads catalogues) finding it a good and interesting work about stillness. In those pages Dessì is able to catch the reflections and the anguishes of a deserter who hides himself in the woods above his little town in Sardinia during the first World War.
"Paese d'ombre" (Town of shadows) is above all a novel about motion. Where "Il disertore" was characterized by the slow flowing of time, day after day in a climax of constant waiting, this novel, by contrast, reaches its best moments when Dessì writes about action. In this book the novelist shows a sublime ability in describing horse ridings, train runnings, river floods, Carnival dances, stabbings.
At the same time in this novel story meets history in a perfect and realistic way in which every event in the lives of main characters is deeply connected with a wider scenario made of social issues the importance of which seems almost forgotten today.
Furthermore, Dessì has a deep awareness of what life means, what people think in a small town of Sardinia between 19th and 20th century. Indeed the author has set the novel in the same place where he's born and grown up, even if he doesn't call his town with its real name.
I've heard and known a lot about this novel before to read it and all that I can say now is that I miss so much the few people I would like to share my impressions on "Paese d'ombre" with.