‘I did not know,’ I said, ‘that life could go at a run, with drums beating. For you, it is different. Your life, after I came into it, went on at its usual pace, without any sound.’
In a hushed Italian town after the Second World War Elsa lives with her parents in the house where she was born. Twenty-seven and unmarried, she is of constant concern to her mother, whose status anxiety manifests itself in acute hypochondria. But her mother does not know that Elsa has fallen in love with Tommasino, the elusive youngest son of the De Francisci family, who own the cloth factory that dominates the town.
In the course of their secret meetings, Elsa begins to imagine a future with Tommasino, free from the constraints of shared history and expectation. But all of this is threatened when their relationship is revealed.
An elegant, spare novel reminiscent of Chekhov, Voices in the Evening is an unforgettable story about first love and lost chances, from one of the greatest Italian writers of the twentieth century.