"A short novel of affecting elegance" –Vogue
"Cognetti... delivers a beautiful meditation on nature, love, and renewal." –Publishers Weekly
“A masterclass in high-altitude atmosphere, a sharp portrait of a community and a touching romance, all condensed into 200 pages.” –Financial Times
As a romance blooms in an isolated Italian Alpine town fate and free will shape the lives of many in this gorgeously written novel from the internationally bestselling author of The Eight Mountains, basis for the 2022 Cannes Jury Prize winning film
Fausto moves to Fontana Fredda—Cold Fountain—a small, remote village high in the mountains, having left Milan and an old love behind. Out of the way and off the beaten path, Fontana Fredda is a town that operates by its own rules, sense of time, and movement of seasons. Its citizens lead quiet but complex lives—and Fausto is attracted to that contrast. There’s Santorso, the former forest ranger who prefers the company of wolves to humans. Babette, the elegant ex-urbanite who, after a brief fling with a mountain man, opened a permanent fixture in the village: the little restaurant where Fausto works as a line cook, catering to visiting skiers. And it is there where he meets Silvia, the new waitress. Young, cheerful, with the air of a world traveler, the two quickly become friends, and so much more.
When winter ends, Fausto and Silvia part ways, and return to their old lives to tie up loose ends. Fausto eventually goes back to Fontana Fredda to find Silvia, only to learn that she has found a summer job in a nearby glacier. There, among Italy’s peaceful and picturesque nature, Silvia meets a Nepalese mountain guide who introduces her to the enigmatic teachings of the Buddha. Meanwhile, Fausto finds work cooking for a crew of lumberjacks, and makes regular visits up by Silvia.
With the turn of seasons, Fausto and Silvia’s relationship is profoundly changed by the winds of time.Life, as they discover, contains endless possibilities.
Structured in short, distilled chapters, Paolo Cognetti’s luminous, atmospheric novel offers an elegant portrait of a budding romance between two kindred, but different spirits united by their attraction to an isolated landscape. Empathetic, achingly evocative, and buoyed by an affection for the natural world, it is a beautiful meditation on our infinite search to understand our place in the universe.
Translated from the Italian by Stash Luczkiw
Paolo Cognetti is an Italian writer, novelist, and editor from Milan. He divides his time between the city and his cabin in the Italian Alps. He is the author of Without Ever Reaching the Top and The Eight Mountains, which was an international sensation and won Italy's Strega Prize and the French Prix Médicis étranger.
"Celebrated Italian novelist Paolo Cognetti has crafted a short novel of affecting elegance . . . [calling] Hemingway to mind . . . [here] a small community of simple people seems uncommonly beautiful.” — Vogue
"Cognetti... delivers a beautiful meditation on nature, love, and renewal." — Publishers Weekly
"[Cognetti] returns to the slopes with a masterclass in high-altitude atmosphere, a sharp portrait of a community and a touching romance, all condensed into 200 pages. …[his] talent for distilling emotion without artifice. Crucially, the romance is believable and frail … Likewise, the mountains are shown as dangerous, luminous, beautiful and utterly indifferent to human ego.” — Financial Times
"[Inviting] readers into Fontana Fredda... [through] simple prose, seamlessly translated by Luczkiw, The Lovers is a thoughtfully crafted series of character studies firmly rooted in its setting." — Booklist
“One of Paolo Cognetti’s strengths lies in his ability to avoid sentimentality. He never romanticizes, and yet has managed to write a thoroughly romantic love story.” — Abendzeitung München
"A mystical journey through the peaks and the roughness of the mountain, the sun and the ice ... A novel of pure love - love for nature, love for people, just simply love - that lifts the soul and the heart." — Les Echos
“A luminous story, at times bare and contemplative. [...] Paolo Cognetti is never bombastic or dogmatic." — Libération
"An enchanting ode to nature that explores the fissures and cracks of human relationships and second chances in life with an immense, luminous power." — La Repubblica