A man is haunted by memories of his mother in a city under siege
In a white city on the African shore of the Mediterranean, the Islamic fundamentalists are gaining control of the streets and the European community of artists and decadent aristocrats take refuge in memories and innumerable barely-recognised vices. Luca and Irene, a young couple, are accepted into this decaying and malicious ex-patriot society because of Irene’s family money. On learning that his wife has breast cancer, Luca becomes obsessed with the memory of his mother who died of the same illness, and escapes into the only world in which he feels secure, his garden, to which he devotes himself with the desperate passion of one threatened by the entire world. There he remains ignorant of the intrigues of his friends and acquaintances, untouched by Irene’s illness and her distance. He immerses himself ever more deeply in his dream, becoming more and more like the city’s inhabitants who are rushing towards corruption and destruction.
A novel of subtlety and range. –MATTHEW WRIGHT Times Literary Supplement
The Milanese writer Umberto Pasti is intrigued and inspired by decadence … eminiscent of Jean Genet at his most determinedly lyrical … compelling. –PAUL BAILEY Daily Telegraph
Like all great novels The Age of Flowers is scandalous and alarming … it is written in an amazingly skilful way that is not at all ornamental or embellished. –VITTORIO SERMONTI Corriere della Sera
Umberto Pasti was born in Milan. He has contributed to Il Giornale and Indro Montanelli’s La Voce with articles on art and literature. He has also written on travel, fashion and current affairs for magazines such as Vogue, Elle, House and Garden and The World of Interiors. He translated Marcel Proust’s Letters to his Mother (1986) for the publishers Tartaruga. An expert on Islamic ceramics and a keen amateur botanist, Pasti lives in Milan and Tangiers. The Age of Flowers, his first novel, was shortlisted for the prestigious Premio Viareggio in 2000.