A widowed Italian farm woman finds unlikely companionship and startling self-discovery in a novel “as immediate and spellbinding as a two-character play” (La Stampa).
A Tuscan through and through, Nives didn’t cry when she found her husband of fifty years dead in the pig pen. Nor did she cry at the funeral. But when loneliness sets in—and she brings her favorite chicken inside for company—she is shocked to discover that her new companion is a more than adequate replacement.
Then one day, the chicken goes stiff in front of the tv, and Nives must call the town veterinarian, Loriano Bottai. What follows is a phone call that seems to last a lifetime, a phone call that becomes a novel. Their conversation veers from the chicken to the past—to the life they once shared, the secrets they never had the courage to reveal, wounds that never healed.
Shortlisted for the 2022 Italian Prose in Translation Award, Nives reverberates with stories of love lost, of abandonment, of silent and heart-breaking nostalgia, of joy, laughter, and despair.