I am a sucker for a good love story. As much as I try to be realistic and pragmatic, nothing makes me weep like a little girl, like the bond of true love built between characters.
That being said, it is no wonder that “Splendore” by Italian writer Margaret Mazzantini became one of the best books I’ve read this year.
The book follows the two main characters, Guido and Constantino, from a very early age, throughout their teenage years, reaching adulthood. They come from very different backgrounds, one poor and one from a fairly wealthy family. I know that the plot sounds very cheesy, the classic telenovela plot (even though the love story is between two men), but it is so much more than that.
The story is told from the point of view of Guido, the kid from the rich family and it explores the subtle changes in his relationship with Constantino, going through hate, friendship, lust, need and finally love.
In the background of their love story, we get to see the cultural differences between 90’s Italy with all its prejudice about gay relationships (beautifully portrayed in Constantinos religious background and his doubts about his bond with Guido) and the liberal view of London society on same-sex relationships.
I heartily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good love story, and I advise you to keep a box of tissues near while reading it.