The Man Who Pulled His Village from the Sea by Christine Simon
(Sphere, 2022)

The Man Who Pulled His Village from the Sea

by Christine Simon

Don’t you want to get out of here, Giovannino? his cousin had said, standing there on the platform and staring doggedly into the distance. Don’t you want to get out of here before this place strangles you, too?

In a tiny village in Italy, the self-appointed mayor (and vacuum cleaner repairman), septuagenarian Signore Speranza will do anything he can to save his beloved town from extinction. When he learns that the water is going to be cut off in sixty days unless he can come up with some quick cash, he tries to boost tourism by spreading a harmless rumor that major movie star Dante Rinaldi is planning to film a movie in the village.

The plan works a little too well, and soon everyone wants to be a part of the fictional movie. Village butcher Signore Maestro will even invest in the film – if Signore Speranza can find roles for each of his fifteen enormous sons. He soon realizes that the only way to keep the momentum going is to actually make the movie, assuring the villagers that Dante is on his way. Luckily, his hapless assistant Smilzo happens to have written a screenplay – not so secretly based on his undying love for the film’s leading lady.

As the entire town becomes involved in the movie – even the village priest invests – Signore Speranza starts to think he might be able to pull this off…until Dante Rinaldi actually shows up.

This is a novel about the love of home, of community, of belonging somewhere. For readers of Frederick Backman and Jonas Jonasson, it’s also about a man in the final decades of his life, watching the world evolving, who decides he has one more fight left in him.