A character-driven tale revolving around three main figures: Ursula Füssli, the grand-daughter of a Wehrmacht officer perished in the plot against Hitler; Leonardo Bellini, a Milanese lawyer and tortured soul whose life of promise is derailed by a passing incident; Armin von Göttner, scion of Prussian nobility, fled from his native land with the Russian advance at war’s end, to become one of the great names of the classical music world. Three disparate lives, each with a past tortuous and stormy, whose chance encounter provokes a series of events extreme and unforeseen.
Framed in a world of high culture, art and music, and drawing on the many shades of human experience, passions and perversions compulsive, love, loyalty, faith and infidelity, private grief and public shame, a lively cast of minor figures also lends its variegated presence. Presenting a fractured landscape of alienation, mainly it is a story of men and women at war with themselves, their own ambitions and illusions, inclinations and desires. The narrative, ironic, comic and sombre in turn offers the adult reader an intriguing and engrossing human tale.
The novel brings together the more significant strands of human sentiment and experience, twining them in a narrative colourful and compelling. Set in the Italian lake town of Como, Geneva and the forestlands of northern Switzerland, the events unfold over an arc of several decades, from World War Two to recent times.