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How did that foot get there? A raw and cruel, but also moving story by Claudio Morandini

Snow, dog, foot is the great title of the first book translated into Dutch by Claudio Morandini, published by Koppernik, a publishing house specialising in literary gems. The novel, which was already published in Italy in 2015 and received rave reviews, is set in the region where the author lives, the Valle d'Aosta.

Main character Andelmo Farandola lives like a hermit in a mountain hut. His solitude is sacred to him. But when autumn sets in, Andelmo does have to go to the village to stock up on food. The shopwoman reacts with surprise: will he have finished everything by then? But Andelmo cannot remember shopping a week earlier and returns home confused.

An old dog that has followed him on his retreat from the village no longer leaves his side. Andelmo decides to give the animal shelter; perhaps he can keep uninvited guests at bay, such as the curious gamekeeper, who worries about the lonely hermit. Despite Andelmo's grumpy nature, a certain mutual affection develops between dog and man. They have whole conversations, and the dog accepts the quirks and antics of his master, whose condition is becoming increasingly clear that he is no longer really in top shape. He stopped washing and brushing his teeth years ago, and his memory is increasingly failing him.

The two only barely survive the winter, as completely snowed in and with an extra stomach to fill, supplies run out faster than usual. So relief is great when spring arrives. But then a foot sticks up from the melting ice pack. Who is that corpse and how did the dead person get there - does the old man have anything to do with it? Fantasy, fear images and memories begin to form a tangle that clouds the view of reality.

Snow, dog, foot is a raw and cruel, but also moving story. While the savage nature, the gruff hermit and the harsh circumstances mirror each other, the often witty conversations between man and dog act as small rays of light in the darkness. Aptly, Morandini shapes the confused Andelmo Farandola. A few telling details about his background give him great depth. This is how you come to love this unpleasant man (and his old dog) a little anyway.

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Claudio Morandini, Snow, dog, foot. Translated by Hilda Schraa and Manon Smits. 128 p., Koppernik, €19.50.



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Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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