The definition of a “heavy” or “light” book always reminds me of the image of a large tome written on 90 gr / m2 paper or, vice versa, on sheets of tissue.
I know very well that, instead, it refers to the plot, and I also use this term sometimes, but this misrepresentation continues to come to my mind.
What is that makes a book “heavy” or “light”? Surely neither the length, nor the number of machinations, perhaps the type of narration?
For me, it is subjectivity.
I do not deny that there are books that are objectively more difficult than others, written in refined language, very convoluted, but I think that if you are zealous, even those become suddenly light.
I’m not digressing, however the book that I would like to recommend was defined by the critics as “light” and “sparkling”, but I would not want this to belittle it.
The fact is that I have suggested it to anyone I know who want to isolate themselves from the metropolitan chaos, specifically if you are a person who spend a lot of time on public transport; you will have to push a bit to find a place to sit, take the i-pod, insert a good music** so that nobody talks to you, and enjoy this “light” novel that is “L’Allieva” of Alessia Gazzola – perhaps associating the reading with a herb tea with anti-allergic properties.
I don’t know if outside of Italy is easily available, but you should find it in the “detective stories” department of local bookstores, but I warn you immediately: if you are looking for the “classic crime” Agatha Cristie’s style, this is not the right book. In this one the investigations (unfortunately) play quite a marginal role, (unfortunately). The trickery is there: a young victim with a provocative personality, characters of the rich Roman bourgeoisie on which to investigate, a death also controversial in the modalities. The Gazzola, however, underlines the romantic plot, leaving to the progress of the mystery a little more than the role of side dish to the love triangle Alice-Arthur-Claudio.
Why did I like it so much? The answer is simple: the author is at her debut but I feel like I’ve always known her! Since the beginning I found myself absorbed in the story and getting to know the characters as if I had always read her books. It Being able to get intothe story from the very first lines, was relaxing and satisfying. I literally devoured this book, I started it on the train on a Saturday and on the subway on Monday I had already finished it.
Luckily, I have found out that Alessia, sorry if I feel comfortable with it but it really looks like a friend of mine, has written others books on what I renamed “The Other Alice”. Yes, because the Alice of my heart remains the one of Wonderland, but this Alice has conquered me almost in the same way. And in every novel she adds a little more to the part of the investigation without ever leaving out the sentimental story.
The Gazzola is a writer who has not let herself be comforted by the success of the debut novel, but that is actually growing story after story, with a funny but brainy protagonist that we like! The way she talks about the life of a PhD student in Forensic Medicine is so engaging that it makes us feel students too, clumsy struggling with bossy heads and impossible agendas.
All of us, sooner or later in our life, found ourselves subordinated to someone just to succeed in our ambitions, Alice is all of us, and we must cheer for her!
A little Bridget Jones a little Kay Scarpetta but never explicitly copied, simply it seemed to me that she paid tributes to them and makes a perfect combination of the two protagonists for a more modern player who wants to escape a bit without having to give up that touch of mystery.
N.B. This Autumn a fiction inspired by this book will be realised, do not be tempted! Read the original version first and then enjoy the transposition or you will lose a lot of the witty irony with which the novel is written.