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The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri

The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri

     The Book of Hidden Things is a Bildungsroman, fantasy, detective story, and psychological thriller. It explores the meaning of friendship, the strength of familial bonds, and the impact of the past on the present. Dimitri, a noted fantasy writer in his native Italy, has written a stunning book of realistic fiction interwoven with the supernatural.

The story centers on four childhood friends and the pact they made, 17 years ago, to meet every year on the same date in their hometown in Southern Italy.  All four have idealized their boyhood days as a time of great promise and adventure. Tony, a successful surgeon and the most grounded of the group, is an outsider because he is gay. Mauro, who married the beautiful Anna and has two daughters, is a discontented lawyer who regrets missed opportunities. Fabio, whom the others think is a famous photographer, is barely solvent. Finally, there is Art, a Pan-like drug dealer who may or may not be delusional.

When Art fails to come to their most recent reunion, memories of another time are reawakened. When the boys were 14 and in an olive grove one night, Art wandered off and was not seen for seven days. Tony, Mauro, and Fabio were too frightened to go into the woods to look for him. He comes back visibly the same but emotionally altered. He said he ran away from home. But is this true? And if not, where was he? What happened to him during that time and who is responsible?

When Art misses the latest reunion, his friends wonder whether his absence is connected to his earlier disappearance. In addition, they learn about a manuscript Art wrote entitled, The Book of Hidden Things. But they are not the only ones interested in this manuscript. So is the local Mafioso.

The novel is a tour de force. Character-driven, it explores human weakness as well as the depths of forgiveness—of our parents, our friends, and ultimately, of ourselves. While doing so, it examines the spiritual and allows us to question the existence of a fourth dimension. Dimitri has written an amazing book that will appeal to readers of fantasy, coming of age, mystery, and thrillers.



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