Title: The Eight Mountains
Author(s): Paolo Cognetti
No. of pages: 239
Genre: Literature, Coming of age
Publication date: November 8th 2016
Date read: June 25th 2018
The international sensation about the friendship between two young Italian boys from different backgrounds and how their incredibly strong connection evolves, changes, and challenges them throughout their lives.
Pietro is a lonely boy living in Milan. With his parents becoming more distant each day, the only thing the family shares is their love for the Dolomites, the mountains that hug the northeastern border of Italy.
While on vacation at the foot of the mountains, Pietro meets Bruno, an adventurous, spirited local boy. Together they spend many summers exploring the mountain’s meadows and peaks and discover the similarities and differences in their lives, their backgrounds, and their futures. The two boys come to find the true meaning of friendship and camaraderie, even as their divergent paths in life— Bruno’s in the mountains, Pietro’s in cosmopolitan cities across the world—test the strength and meaning of their connection.
A modern Italian masterpiece, The Eight Mountains is a lyrical coming-of-age story about the power of male friendships and the enduring bond between fathers and sons.
As a lover of coming-of-age novels I really liked this story. You get to know Pietro as a young boy, a teenager and a grown-up and you get to read about the choices and “mistakes” he made throughout his life. I say “mistakes”, because what this book showed me was that each person finds his or her own happiness in his or her own way. And that each person’s own life path is their choice and therefore never really wrong (as long as you try to live by what’s best for you and the ones around you). I myself have chosen some side paths that other people would look down upon, because I don’t aim for being the best or what other people might think is right for me (aka, master’s degree and things like that).
I loved the friendship between Pietro and Bruno and how they’re still friends, even when they’ve not seen each other for years – they just pick it up where they left it! And what better place to find a friend than in the mountains? Pietro and Bruno’s adventures together really made me want to go back to the holidays me and my family spent in the Italian and Austrian mountains (any holiday abroad will do though!). They could just find fun in anything, from following streams to entering abandoned buildings. Cognetti masterfully described the mountains and the cities and their contradictions. The way he described the mountains really felt lonely, but peaceful and the cities busy and hurried.
I definitely found a new favourite book in The Eight Mountains and I really hope future works of Cognetti will get translated, because I’m hungry for more!