A woman in 1980s Naples asks her husband to go to the land of the dead to find their son, who was killed by a stray bullet.
Why did you write this book?
I wanted to write a book about loss and grief. I was also interested to see if readers would still enjoy reading about a descent to the Underworld, which was such a common theme throughout antiquity but is rarely encountered today.
Where do you find inspiration?
For me, every book is the confluence of a theme I want to explore and my own inner magma. I know Naples well and wanted to write about it. I often draw on the tragic or the epic for inspiration, and this book allowed me to combine the two.
Have you always written?
I started writing plays when I was about 24, and I haven’t stopped. I’ve been lucky enough to live off my writing for the last 15 years.
Which writers do you admire?
The Greek tragedians. Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Dostoyevsky. The French playwright Koltès. Among many, many others…
What are you doing when you’re not writing?
Thinking about the next book! Or travelling, which amounts to the same thing …
The super power you wish you had
There isn’t one. I believe humans are incredible machines as they are. Making use of all our senses and gifts is the work of a lifetime.
Describe your writing routine
There’s nothing routine about writing. Every manuscript is new, every obstacle unpredictable, every difficulty perplexing. That’s what’s wonderful about it. The routine is in what takes place around the writing.
What are you currently reading?
A play by Falk Richter.
Name the book you’ve re-read the most
The narrative poem ‘La prose du Transsibérien’ by Blaise Cendrars.