Anthracite by Valerio Evangelisti

Coal will bury them

An excellent historiographic novel, although less exciting than subsequent ones. Valerio Evangelisti, unattainable in his Eymerich saga, struggles to find his own voice, and the narration sounds somewhat cold and not fully engaging. The fantastical elements, introduced only in the second part of the book, which add nothing to its complex plot of numerous social implications, seem a little out of place. But the story that unfolds tells of some of the founding moments of the social policy of the United States and is sharp and properly thought out; it makes the reader think and is well documented (do not ignore the bibliography at the end of the book). So much so that it is the History more than the character which attracts us. Valerio Evangelisti will do better with “The collar of Fire”, “The broken collar”, “We will be Everything”, “Tortuga” and “One Big Union”; but this turning point in his narrative is a happy one, and the book is worth an in-depth read.

Translation by Silvia Accorrà (edited by Ester Tossi)