The international bestseller and winner of the Premio Strega and the Prix du Livre Etranger
– The Hummingbird
[ About the Book ]
Marco Carrera is ‘the hummingbird,’ a man with the almost supernatural ability to stay still as the world around him continues to change.
As he navigates the challenges of life – confronting the death of his sister and the absence of his brother; taking care of his parents as they approach the end of their lives; raising his granddaughter when her mother, Marco’s own child, can no longer be there for her; coming to terms with his love for the enigmatic Luisa – Marco Carrera comes to represent the quiet heroism that pervades so much of our everyday existence.
In The Hummingbird, a beautiful story about pain and the agonizing power of life, we breathlessly follow the life of Marco Carrera, a hero for our times. A thrilling novel about the need to look to the future with hope and live with intensity to the very end.
[ My Review ]
The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi was published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson June 24th and wonderfully translated by Elena Pala. Originally published in Italy in 2019, The Hummingbird won the Premio Strega, the Italian equivalent of the Booker Prize making Sandro Veronesi only the second author in its seventy-three year history to have won the award twice. The Hummingbird is the first book-length translation for Elena Pala, a commercial and literary translator from Italian and French.
The Hummingbird is described as an ‘extraordinary novel, a book that will surprise, delight and move. A book that is deeply engaged with our times which offers a vision of the future that is full of grace and hope.’ On picking this novel up I knew I was about to embark on a very special journey, one that would encourage me to reflect on my own life and the road ahead.
Marco Carrera suffered from a growth disorder as a young boy and he was given the nickname ‘the hummingbird’. Yet it also perfectly reflected his ability through the turmoil of life to remain almost static, like the hummingbird itself that ‘makes twelve to eighty wing beats per second, but remains suspended in air, seemingly motionless.’ Marco Carrera experienced many highs and lows over the years, but although his world might have been exploding around him. Marco remained collected and calm. He has now tragically buried many members of his family, his wife has left him, his brother doesn’t respond to any of his emails and his daughter is no longer available to mind her child, leaving Marco alone in raising his granddaughter. He is resolute about how his life has played out and is accepting of the cards dealt him. Never one to complain, he just picks up and starts over every time.
The location is very strong in this novel as Veronesi transports his readers to Rome and Florence. The chapters travel back over the years revealing snapshots of Carrera’s life and the challenges he faced from his youthful days. The all time love of his life Luisa is central to his story as their ‘star-crossed-lover’ romance plays out across the years. Told through narrative, dialogue, emails, letters and poetry, The Hummingbird never allows the reader to be complacent as we piece together the emotional and nostalgic tale of this oft-times seemingly doomed man.
Very much a tale about the various relationships through life that we collect and abandon, The Hummingbird is a beautiful piece of prose. Marco Carrera is an ordinary man, an ophthalmologist, with an extraordinary story to tell. He faces inordinate challenges with grace and finesse. He is a model of serenity at the most chaotic of times, in particular toward the latter pages where my heart just melted.
The Hummingbird is a silent book that just creeps up on you, inviting you to question your own humanity and existence. The Hummingbird is a book that gives hope for the future as seen through the lens of Marco Carrera and Sandro Veronesi. There is so much detail in this novel, with every sentence, every word carrying such weight and the whole book is packed with vivid descriptions and incredible characters.
The Hummingbird is a joyous and mesmerizing journey that will enchant and delight all readers. A book that combines pain, grief, tragedy, love, compassion, regrets and so much more, The Hummingbird is truly an exceptional piece of writing.
[ Bio ]
Sandro Veronesi was born in Florence in 1959. He is the author of nine novels including Quiet Chaos (2005), which was translated into twenty languages and won the Strega Prize, the Prix Fémina and the Prix Méditerranée. His latest novel, The Hummingbird, was an instant bestseller in Italy, was voted best book of the year by the Corriere della Sera (Italy’s most widely read newspaper) and won the Premio Strega. Sandro is only the second author in the Premio Strega’s history to win the prize twice.