Saturday 29 June 2024

Book Review: The Mortal and Immortal Life of the Girl from Milan by Domenico Starnone (Contemporary Fiction)

The Mortal and Immortal Life of the Girl from Milan
Domenico Starnone
Europa Editions
15 October 2024
eBook - EPUB
Contemporary Fiction
ARC via NetGalley

Imagine a child, a daydreamer, always gazing out of the window. His grandmother, busy in the kitchen, keeps an eye on him. The child stares at a balcony on the opposite building, watching the black-haired girl as she dances her reckless dance. For a love like this, a child can push himself to extreme feats. He can turn into explorer or cabin boy, cowboy or castaway; he can fight duels to the death, or even master an unfamiliar language.

His grandmother is not articulate, but does not lack imagination, and her love for the boy is immeasurable. She tells him about the entrance to the underworld, engraving indelible images in her nephew’s mind.

An irresistible book, as sharp as the swords of fantasy hidden under the bed, as precious as a family jewel, in which the discovery of love and the discovery of death follow each other, marking the end of childhood.


The Mortal and Immortal Life of the Girl from Milan was a short but poignant read in which the young narrator experiencing first love and first loss. I was caught up in the story and characters, which all felt realistic and compelling. The weaving of myth and poetry throughout the novella worked really well, adding a subtle weight to the events taking place. It was a quick but memorable read and I would certainly pick up other works by this author in the future. I am giving it four stars.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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