I received an Uncorrected Bound Proof of this book. All opinions are my own. Pubdate was June 7, 2022.
Luca Saracino is thirteen years old and eight months ago became completely blind. After the death of his beloved grandfather, his parents decide to move the whole family into his grandfather’s home in the southern Italian countryside. With neither experience nor funds, they plan to extensively reno the home and turn it into a hotel. While Luca’s older brother drops out of university and his parents are focused on their new dreams, Luca is learning to navigate an entire new world. He makes an unexpected friend in Ada and her family. They’ve lived next door for generations but their families have not gotten along. Luca doesn’t know why his grandfather hated Ada’s father but he feels loved and supported by Ada and her parents for the first time in a long time.
Yet something seems to be stalking Luca in the fields near his house. Without his sight he feels vulnerable and uncertain of his surroundings but he becomes more and more sure that a greater force is moving around him. “Praise God, never the wind,” his grandfather used to tell him but what or who is this Wanderer that Luca senses in the countryside?
Never the Wind almost feels like a young adult novel, with its youthful protagonists and unsettling, maybe magical background but it also works well for adult readers. The big is firmly set in the real world but with strange things happening around Luca. Dimitri does an excellent job of leaving the reader unsure of what is real and what isn’t. Luca’s blindness lends itself to this lack of surety; he is our narrator and he himself is unsure of what is happening right in front of him as he learns to navigate his new lack of sight and trust his other senses. With Luca as narrator, we also get beautiful descriptions of the smells and feels and sounds around him. The southern Italian countryside really comes to life on the page in a beautiful but unsettling way.