2020 Longlist

The Eight Mountains


Translated from the Italian by Simon Camell

2020 Longlist

Pietro is a lonely boy living in Milan. With his parents becoming more distant each day, the only thing the family shares is their love for the mountains that surround Italy.

While on vacation at the foot of the Aosta Valley, Pietro meets Bruno, an adventurous, spirited local boy. Together they spend many summers exploring the mountains’ meadows and peaks and discover the similarities and differences in their lives, their backgrounds, and their futures. The two boys come to find the true meaning of friendship and camaraderie, even as their divergent paths in life – Bruno’s in the mountains, Pietro’s across the world – test the strength and meaning of their connection.

About the Author

Paolo Cognetti is an Italian writer, novelist, and editor from Milan. He divides his time between the city and his cabin in the Italian Alps. He is the author of The Wild Boy and The Eight Mountains, an international sensation that won Italy’s Strega Prize and the French Prix Médicis étranger.

Librarian’s Comments

The Eight Mountains is a contemplative novel about the friendship between a city boy from Milan, who spends his summers with his parents  in the Italian Alps, and Bruno a local boy from the mountains. Pietro and Bruno grow up together with ups and downs suited for a mountain boy.  The impressive coming-of age story is beautifully balanced and written in a bright and elegant style. We get a whiff of nostalgia, wisdom of life and masterly descriptions of the surroundings. Openbare Bibliotheek Brugge, Belgium

Cognetti’s novel is a meditative hiking with the mountains in its centre that represents search for deep comprehension and understanding of life and the everyday complex human relationships between parents and children, first true friends, world and an individual. Relationships that are surrounding mountains, sometimes even hidden among dark clouds, always are present strongly enough with magnetic force to bring us in their centre. The nearer to the centre the farther the main character is to answer the question: is my centre inside of me or is it in outside of me in what attracts me irresistibly? Exquisite writing with original Italian easiness to tell a story in a simple, melodic but highly artistic way on one hand and talent to capture complicated human relations in a moment and not to simplify them on the other is overwhelming literature, most masterfully depicting father and son relationships especially. Gradska knjižnice Rijeka, Croatia

A great story of friendship between two boys as different as possible except for their shared passion for mountains. Bibliothèque Municipale de Reims, France

The story about two boys raised in different environments who were bonded over their love for mountains. They grow up as men and mature as friends who understand each other without having to say a word. It is also the portrait of the family relationships, the story about following parents passion or deferring to their experience, against their own dreams. Wojewódzka Biblioteka Publiczna im. Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego w Łodzi, Poland




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