Teenager Lorenzo Cuni lives with his energetic parents in a comfortable home in central Rome. But ever since toddlerhood he has been a quiet, self-reliant child.
One day, in an effort to please his anxious mother, Lorenzo pretends to join classmates on a skiing trip, but takes up residence in a cellar stocked with tinned tuna and Marvel comics. Not long into his stay, his drug-addicted half-sister, Olivia, joins him there.
Translated by Kylee Doust, Ammaniti's sparely written novel gets inside the head of a world-weary boy. The novel's ending comes as a horrible shock.