A bittersweet gothic fantasy of family, friendship, memory, and the uncanny told from the perspective of a blind teenager in Puglia, Southern Italy, set in the same world as The Book of Hidden Things, perfect for readers of Neil Gaiman, Donna Tartt and Haruki Murakami.
Praise God, never the wind
1996 - Luca Saracino is thirteen and has been completely blind for eight months when his parents move to a Southern Italian farmhouse they dream of turning into a hotel. With his brother dropping out of university and the family reeling from Luca’s diagnosis, they are chasing dreams of rebirth and reinvention.
As Luca tells his story without sight - experiencing the world solely through hearing, smell, taste and touch - he meets the dauntless Ada Guadalupi, who takes him out to explore the rocky fields and empty beaches. But Luca and Ada find they can’t escape the grudges that have lasted between their families for generations, or the gossiping of the town. And Luca is preyed upon by the feral Wanderer, who walks the vineyards of his home.
As Luca's family starts to crack at the seams, Luca and Ada have to navigate new lands and old rivalries to uncover the truths spoken as whispers on the wind.
About the Author
Francesco Dimitri is an Italian author and speaker living in London. He is on the Faculty of the School of Life. He is considered one of the foremost fantasy writers in Italy, and his works have been widely appreciated by non-genre readers too. A film has been made from his first novel, La Ragazza dei miei Sogni (The Girl of My Dreams). The Book of Hidden Things is his debut novel in English.
"Susanna Clarke meets Robert Aikman in this heady, melancholic, nuanced coming of age story. I was utterly entranced by Never the Wind."— Paul Tremblay
"A coming-of-age story, a tale of old family rivalries and grudges, a supernatural mystery that the blind Luca might be more equipped to unravel than others; Never the Wind is a beguiling thing, that draws you irresistibly into its labyrinth of secrets." — Will MacLean, author of Apparition Phase
"What a terrific book... I'm truly moved to see such a faithful depiction of real-life blindness in a piece of literature. But Francesco Dimitri has also painted the most wonderful, three-dimensional image of the Italian countryside on my mind's eye, and constructed a masterful tale that is at times chilling and at others cosily poignant in its sublime evocations of youth and summertimes past." — Maud Rowell, author of Blind Spot: Exploring and Educating on Blindness
"A intricately detailed an subtly fantastical coming of age story that unfolds slowly into a larger, darker world." A. C. Wise, author of Wendy, Darling and Hooked
"This book is so good that I am speechless. Staggeringly good! An extraordinarily powerful work. Dimitri casts his net into the sea of myth, and brings up a remarkable catch. Family, friendship, horror, humor, wit and deception—I have seldom read a book so powerful."— Ellen Kushner, author of Swordspoint
"It's a ghost story and a love story, full of life and passion, and knowledge. It's a wonderful book." — Aliya Whiteley, award-winning author of The Beauty, The Loosening Skin and Skyward Inn
"Never the Wind is a tender and magical take on all the potential – and horrors – of adolescence. Dimitri’s writing is full of wonder at the natural world, beautifully mediated through Luca’s heart-rending personal circumstances, and a narrative voice full of pathos and wisdom. An utterly fresh take on the coming-of-age tale, with something deliciously awful and folkloric – in the darkest possible way – about the story’s triumphant climax." — Ally Wilkes, author of All the White Spaces
"Francesco Dimitri has set himself what would be a daunting challenge for any writer, and he has risen to that challenge with aplomb. The result is beautiful and life-affirming and profound, and I am more than a little in awe. Dimitri is a phenomenon. Read this book. Read it now!" — A. J. Elwood, author of The Cottingley Cuckoo
"A sensory treat! Never the Wind is richly realised, and Francesco Dimitri is a marvel."—Oliver K. Langmead, author of Birds of Paradise and Glitterati
"Damn, this is good. This is the kind of fantasy that I wish I could write, and I am awestruck."—James Brogden, author of Hekla's Children
"Francesco Dimitri is a true visionary in contemporary fantasy fiction. His masterful storytelling has echoes of Alan Garner in its invocation of the landscape of the author’s native Puglia and the ancient magic that throbs just beneath the surface. Fiercely intelligent, achingly heart-felt, Never the Wind will live on in your dreams long after the last page has been read."—Mark Chadbourn, author of Age of Misrule
"Heavenly Creatures meets Mary Stewart’s lushly scenic gothic thrillers in Dimitri’s eerie sophomore work of religious horror...truly spooky...plenty here to fascinate fans of cerebral horror."—Publishers Weekly
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK OF HIDDEN THINGS
A thrilling spectacle that also manages to point poignantly at the way the landscapes we grow up in shape us in ways even beyond our understanding. A deeply felt look at the idea of home, clothed as a popcornworthy page-turner. – Kirkus, starred review
What a joy to have this in English. Francesco Dimitri's fantastic fantasy novel has everything I like. A sensation of damp shadows moving just out of sight, and a slow, joyful, and mysterious unravelling of events. I can't recommend it too highly. – Joe R. Lansdale, author of The Thicket
The Book of Hidden Things shows us that memories are stories that refuse to belong only to the past. Such stories can create places that are both wonderful and dangerous; whether we believe in them or not is up to us. – Aliya Whiteley, author of The Beauty
What a glorious read! This sun-drenched fantasy is a feast for the senses, reflecting on the value of friendship and what it means to finally grow up. If you loved the Neil Gaiman's Ocean at the End of the Lane, this book is for you. – Helen Marshall, author of Gifts for the One Who Comes After
The Book of Hidden Things is both a mystery and a map. Follow the clues along the trail in Francesco Dimtri’s dazzling debut and you’ll be ushered into a hidden world of magic, not only within these pages, but also within your own life. Be prepared to be transformed. – Mark Chadbourn, author of Age of Misrule
Francesco Dimitri's first novel in English is a wonder and a revelation. Hidden within this gripping, frightening story about an arcane manuscript is a deep, clear-eyed, and compassionate meditation on friendship as it evolves over time. The Book of Hidden Things is fantasy at its best: using magical tropes to illuminate real life. – Terri Windling, author of The Wood Wife
As soon as I read the first lines of The Book of Hidden Things, I felt at home. It is an immersive book, that draws you in and never lets you go. Gripping, ruthless in the way it describes the age of reason, dominated by a mysterious, magical Salento landscape very far from the chocolate box images we are used to. In a word, unmissable. – Licia Troisi, author of Nihal From The Land Of Wind
Francesco Dimitri is one of the most significant figures of the last generation of fantasy. – Alan D. Altieri