“Matar wrote this book in between books. The one he had just finished, The Return (which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2017), was a memoir of his attempt to discover the fate of his father, who was disappeared by the Libyan regime when Matar was a child, and so his month in this Italian city was intended as a respite. And it reads that way: not as a vacation, but as a chance for Matar to wander, in body and mind, a project for which the ancient walled city turns out, paradoxically, to be ideal. Drawn at first by his almost inexplicable longtime attraction to the paintings of the Sienese School, Matar turns out to be equally drawn to chance encounters with locals (often fellow outsiders like himself) and to the play of his thinking through days of near silence. It's a small book about a small city that opens the space for large thoughts.”Tom, Phinney Books
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