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The Temptation to Be Happy by Lorenzo Marone

The Temptation to Be Happy (edition 2017)

by Lorenzo Marone (Author), Shaun Whiteside (Translator)

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116820,536 (4.08)2
Title:The Temptation to Be Happy
Authors:Lorenzo Marone (Author)
Other authors:Shaun Whiteside (Translator)
Info:Oneworld Publications (2017), 272 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Temptation to Be Happy by Lorenzo Marone



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Cezare Annunziata is a widower, a retired accountant and a grumpy old man. He has always lived his life according to his own rules, mostly selfish ones, and he doesn't intend to stop now. Doesn't seem like a good story, an enjoyable story, would revolve around this character. But this book is a delightful read.

Cezare is full of contradictions. He cheated on his deseased wife, yet he still talks to her and wishes she was there when certain situations arise. He loves his children but has very strained relationships with both of them. He wants to keep doing things his own way yet he is full of regrets. And he can be very philosophical as he remembers his past or thinks about his current life or his friends or his children. And there were times Cezare made me laugh out loud with his honesty. In fact, he is just like most of us, hesitant, conflicted but forging ahead none the less.

So happy I received a copy of this book from Early Reviewer's. I usually pass these along to friends but not this book. I know I'll want to visit with Cezare again. ( )
  belleek | Jul 17, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I enjoyed this book very much. While I would have liked to give the book a 5 star, I felt that the translation of this book was over done. There were several instances where I had to re-read in order to understand what the author(translator) was trying to say. I love the character of Cezare Annunziata, his honesty and in some cases his complete lack of caring made you want to make things right for him. Cezare reminded me very much of my Italian grandfather who was very much a curmudgeon like Cezare. The various characters, such as Eleonora and Marino added an extra layer to the lives of the elderly. While the story takes place in Naples it could be playing out anywhere in the world. ( )
  AngelicaPavelock | Jul 17, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Cezare Annunziata is 77 years old. His daughter seethes with resentment towards him and her upbringing and the sins he has committed against his wife; his son is gay and has never told him, fearing repercussions. His wife has died long ago (though that doesn't stop him from talking to her). He is a crotchety old man who visits a prostitute regularly and won't apologize for it, or for anything else. He's come to that point in life where he's going to live his life the way he wants and not make excuses for himself.

That doesn't mean, however, that he isn't full of regrets for mistakes he's made in the past and doesn't wish for things to be different, with his children, with his friends, with his dead wife, and with himself.

In short, Cezare is human, and illustrates the conflicts within all of us: we have good days and bad, good memories and burdensome ones, desires and wishes that conflict with our better selves. He's looking forward to a dotage in which his cynicism clashes with his hopefulness.

His neighbors include an old batty cat lady, and his former best friend Marino. When new neighbors move in, the standoffish young couple Emma and her husband, things become mysterious and troublesome. Things get interesting, and soon Cezare finds himself embroiled in the secrets behind the new couple's door.

This story is about aging ungracefully, about regrets and hopes, and about the human condition.

Surprisingly, the author is a young(ish) man who grasps old age and its foibles.

I found a little bit of it confusing; for a long time, it's unclear exactly what makes Cezare so loathsome as a father to his daughter. But overall, this is a good read with a curmudgeony old man, a book in the vein of "A Man Called Ove," (but much less well done in my opinion). If you liked that one, you'll probably enjoy this.

Thank you to the author and publishers for a review copy. ( )
  ChayaLovesToRead | Jul 15, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Cesare Annunziata is a very cynical man. His is a rather lonely life. He’s a 77-year-old widower who doesn’t have much of a relationship with either his son or his daughter. His long-time friend, Marino, lives downstairs in Cesare’s building but Marino hasn’t been out of his apartment in years. Cesare occasionally does see a nurse, Rossana, but he’s not sure exactly how he feels about her. There’s also the cat lady in the building who Cesare tries to avoid at all costs.

And then beautiful, young Emma moves into the building with her husband and life will never be the same for Cesare. He’s always had an eye for the ladies so he’s completely intrigued by the elusive Emma. But then he and the cat lady start hearing awful sounds coming from Emma’s apartment and she starts showing signs of abuse. Should Cesare become involved or keep his nose out of it?

What is a perfect delight this little book is! It’s written in a light manner but has deep philosophical undertones. I laughed out loud as I read, that is whenever I wasn’t crying. I continually nodded my head in agreement at the things that Cesare said and thought. This is really quite a touching story and I absolutely loved grumpy old Cesare and all of the residents in the building. I was shocked to learn that the author is only 42 as he nailed this elderly man to a tee. The author is Italian and I believe this is the only book of his that has been translated to English. I do hope to see more of his work available.

Highly recommended.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review. ( )
  hubblegal | Jul 13, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
a very decent book. Although I didn'[t much like the story line, I found the last chapters to make the read worthwhile. These quotes stood out for me:
Old age helps you accept some uncomfortable truths. "there's a big difference between the love for a woman you will never be able to have and the love for the one you have. The first will shine for all eternity; the second will tend to go out as the sun will in a few billion years." "when my passion for my wife began to diminish, I felt rage and disappointment. Rage towards myself, because I couldn't guard love; disappointment because the woman who no longer stirred my emotions was in my bed every night". He also listed a bunch of I likes....good. ( )
  hammockqueen | Jul 12, 2017 |
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