A young woman looks where she shouldn’t—into her father’s past.
A hint of commedia dell’arte grotesqueness pervades the characters in Natalie Danford’s novel Inheritance. Diane is a read-aholic with a wandering eye. Luigi has given himself a “sega”—a wank—every Saturday morning for 34 years. Giovanni has an extra tooth that protrudes from his gums. And then there’s Olivia, who travels to Italy after finding a deed to a house in Urbino among the effects of her deceased Italian immigrant father, only to hear rumors that he had a dark hand in what befell the house’s original Jewish inhabitant.
This movie-like novel crosscuts between Olivia’s trip and Luigi’s past. Cinematic too is Gianfranco, the lawyer Olivia falls for. He drives too fast and feeds Olivia the ideal postcoital feast: He’s the perfect man of her dreams—and most of ours. But watch this light-filled first novel for Luigi, the character you’ll remember most vividly. When you think of him, your heart will break.