What would you do in the last one hundred days of your life? That is, in part, the premise of this novel by Italian director and first time novelist Fausto Brizzi.
Lucio Battistini is dying- he has made mistakes (for which he still wants to atone), he has sporting goals (as coach of a water polo team), and his father-in-law bakes him donuts every morning for breakfast – all valid reasons to keep on keeping on. Lucio is a character with flaws, but he is also a character with heart (perhaps the much lauded Mediterranean spirit) and that is what makes him a most excellent protagonist. That, and the fact that he is joined on his journey by a cast of characters- Lucio’s friends and family- who flesh out his story and makes you want to read on.
The warmth of this book offsets its melancholy, and it is a delicate balance. Too much whimsy and it seems as if the author is glossing over the very real pain, emotional and physical, of terminal illness. Too much melancholy and it seems as if Lucio has nothing left to live for. And we know that isn’t the case.
All in all, this is a thoughtful book with some beautiful surprises along the way. Reading this novel, it is a privilege to join Lucio in his last one hundred days, and to reflect on what you may do in the same situation.