Set during the heat wave in the summer of 1978, in rural Italy nine year old Michele and his friends pretty much have the countryside to themselves. The parents stay in and try to alleviate the heat in whatever ways they can. Michele is only concerned about today, like most children and does not yet think about the wider picture, world events or other things that have affected his town. His only concern is having to drag his little sister everywhere, his friend Salvatore and the unelected leader of the group who can be very cruel. Yet one day, an top of a hill and in a old house everything for Michele will change in an instant.
Almost from the beginning, I felt a palpable tension in this book, the heat, the barren countryside and the short sentences all added to this feeling. I found this to be a gripping read of lost innocence as what Michele finds causes him to mistrust those he previously trusted the most, even his own father. By the ending things have happened that cannot be undone and I was left thinking, what a heavy price there was to pay for trying to do the right thing. I was so proud of this little boy for going the extra mile for what he thought was right. Rather short novel but awfully though provoking.