The Curse of Knowing by Aldo Cernuto

This was a book I wasn’t sure would be for me, but since I was sent it for free to review, I thought I’d give it a go, and I’m so glad I did. As always, although I was sent this book to review, it’s 100% my own honest opinion, so let’s get into it!

This novel is about Vittoria, or Vicky, who has the ‘curse’ of knowing things about people. The worst thing they ever did, their birthday, what they had for breakfast, she knows it all just from being around them.

We switch between current day old and bitter Vittoria, and the story of her youth as beautiful Vicky, in love and not yet aware of her curse, as she calls it. You may think it’d be difficult to keep up with the two, but each chapter is short enough that you can easily keep track of what’s happening in both time lines.

I expected it to be difficult to relate to Vittoria, but instead I felt very connected to her. She’s such a worldly, wise, and frank person, I think most people would come to relate to her. She takes us through the story of her life, to the point that i totally forgot this was a work of fiction, despite her entirely impossible ‘curse’.

As the story continues, we’re introduced to Nadine, a younger woman with the same condition as Vittoria, except she has learnt to deal with it in order to live a normal life. Their friendship developed so organically, and unlocks so many tiny facets of the writing that really made me appreciate how well written this book is.

Many plots, small lines, and themes, weave beautifully throughout the novel, to create a story that is entirely timeless and open to anyone. Aldo Cernuto wrote the novel in English, which is not his native language, which leads to both his descriptions of Italy feeling genuine, and many choices of words are ones that may not have been chosen by a native English speaker, giving it a fresh and almost poetic twist.

If I’d had a bit more time during the week, this would have been a book I say down and devoured in one sitting. As it is, I had to do it over a few days, but I’m absolutely going to read it again sometime, and do it in one sitting.

This wonderful story is beautifully written, so engaging, and I think just about anyone would enjoy giving it a read, so I absolutely recommend that you do!

-Dana


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