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Six Days in Rome by Francesca Giacco

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | General Fiction
Six Days in Rome by Francesca Giacco

By Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

‘And, with a slight left, there it is. All this space suddenly, exhale. Butter yellow buildings, with their faded blue windows. Some apartments have flower boxes, some are bare. If it were a little darker, I’d be able to see inside. Spectacular things in Rome can just happen like this, with no warning. Around a non-descript building, a gorgeous slap in the face.’

Six Days in Rome by Francesca Giacco is published with Headline Review and is described as ‘visceral, decadent and deeply evocative… a novel about reckoning with complex pasts and choices made – and finding what you didn’t know you were looking for.’

Six Days in Rome has brought me the much needed escapism I have been looking for in recent times. Having been lucky to travel to Rome twice in the past, this virtual trip there brought me right back to its unique beauty. Rome is Rome, a city that dances to its own tune and is one that once visited, leaves a permanent mark in your heart and soul.

Emilia is an artist who had visited Rome with her family some years previously. Now she visits alone. This trip that had been planned meticulously was supposed to have been for Emilia and her partner, Michael. It was one that she had been very excited about but their traumatic break-up has now resulted in a solo journey. Emilia decided to stick with the itinerary as originally planned but was unprepared for the impact her Roman adventure would have on her.

As Emilia travels around the ancient and new of this Italian city, she makes observations through a stream of consciousness describing the path and sights ahead of her. She criss-crosses the Tiber, making forays into the bohemian neighbourhood of Trastevere and wandering the streets near the Piazza Navona sipping espressos at the counter and drinking Italian specialties while watching the world go by. On her excursions she bumps into John, a fellow American who has made a new life for himself here in Rome. They have an instantaneous connection, one that neither was expecting. John sees life through a very different lens giving Emilia an alternative look as to how she has lived her life to date and the ofttimes fraught relationship she has with her family. Emilia grew up in a household where her father travelled a lot as a successful musician, leaving her mother in charge. Over the years Emilia has tried to forge her own unique path away from the constant shadow of her father but it has challenged her and has impacted her approach to living her life. With these six days in Rome she considers her life through someone else’s eyes, starting her on an unexpected journey of self-discovery.

Six Days in Rome by Francesca GiaccoSix Days in Rome is a sensuous novel, a reflection on life. Giacco takes the reader on a glorious journey set against the backdrop of this city, one with such an extraordinary history. Personal exploration and the complexities of the family dynamic are both key in this narrative, interwoven with Giacco’s breath-taking descriptions of the Eternal City with all its spectacular sights, sounds and smells. A completely immersive experience, Six Days in Rome is a dazzling debut and, as author Paul Beatty describes it, is ‘stunningly cool’.

(c) Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

Order your copy online here.

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