Weidenfeld & Nicolson has scooped Italian bestseller Marco Missiroli’s novel Fidelity, which has already been sold in 13 territories and bought for adaptation by Netflix.
Federico Andornino, commissioning editor, acquired world English language rights in a deal struck with the MalaTesta Literary Agency. Fidelity, a number one hit in Italy and longlisted for the Premio Strega award, will be translated by English PEN award-winner Alex Valente and published in summer 2020.
The book follows Carlo, a part-time creative writing professor, and Margherita, and architect-turned-estate agent. Its synopsis reads: “Carlo longs for the quiet beauty of one of his students, Sofia; and Margherita fantasises about her physiotherapist Andrea. The dream of a new flat in the heart of Milan might just be what Carlo and Margherita need to strengthen their relationship. But it is love, with its unassuming power, which ultimately pulls them from the brink, aided by Margherita’s mother Anna, the couple’s anchor and lighthouse. After eight years of repressed desires and the birth of a son, however, when the past resurfaces in the form of books sent anonymously, not even Anna might be strong enough to save them.”
Andornino said: “I hate the term ‘literary sensation’ but there just isn’t another way to define Marco’s novel. Fidelity has generated a huge debate in Italy, and there is nothing more thrilling for a publisher than a book that can truly spark a conversation. This is an intimate portrait of a small cluster of characters – all circling around Anna, the wise and unforgettable seamstress at the centre of the book – but also a state of the nation novel in the vein of the American greats. I am sure this book will resonate with readers everywhere, and I couldn’t be prouder to welcome Marco to the W&N family.”
Missiroli said the book had been triggered by his father’s revelation that never cheating on his mother had meant “giving up a part of myself”. The author said: “That’s how the question that dominates Fidelity came to me: if we are faithful to others, do we betray our true self? And if we choose to be faithful to ourselves – truly faithful – to what degree do we then betray the people around us? These are universal questions and I am excited that Federico and W&N have agreed to introduce a whole new set of readers to the dilemma at the heart of my novel.”