The Night Falling is set in 1921 in Puglia. The 1920s, called the ‘golden age’ by many are a time I like reading about. The story seemed interesting and so I was looking forward to an interesting read.
The story begins with a young woman, not quite 30, traveling with her 15 year old step son. Clare and Pip are off to join her husband Boyd. Boyd is an architect who has been engaged by a rich man – Leandro Cardetta – to design the façade of his mansion. Clare and Pip are to spend a summer in Puglia.
The War has taken a toll on the peasants. There is abject poverty with people hardly getting enough to eat. What the humans don’t eat, the dogs do. Ettore is a poor man who works in the fields on daily wages. His sister has a baby and his father, who is old and bent also does field work. They are barely scraping by.
Marcie is a New York actress who is now Leandro’s wife. Things are very different in the Cardetta mansion. Bread and milk flow, so does wine. Food is wasted and it seems that people are eating all the time. There are Alfa Romeos in the garage. Clare senses some tension in her husband. Some local violence shocks Clare and Pip and she wants to go back home to London. But Leandro forbids it.
Clare gradually realizes how empty her life is. She has some apathy toward her husband who is much older and who does not want to have a child. She also senses many undercurrents and wonder what hold Cardetta has over her husband.
The Night Falling alternates between the misery of the poor and the excess of the rich man. A lot of it is written in present tense which I find hard to read. After 30-40% into the book, it seems like all of the characters are tied together by a common thread, and there will be a big reveal at the end.
Well, the only way to find out is to read The Night Falling.