A quietly devastating novel about the pain of hidden secrets and the cost of surrendered love
Cecilia and Claudio are doctors at the same hospital. They eat lunch together, sharing conversation and confidences. Each is recovering from a relationship that has ended but is not yet over: she is a vulnerable young woman with a complicated family situation and two small children; he continues to live in the same building with his senile mother and his ex-wife and her new family. Though they are drawn together magnetically, life has taught them to treat that attraction with suspicion.
But a chance encounter with Cecilia’s sister, Silvia, shifts the precarious balance of the relationship between the two doctors. Claudio begins to see the difficulties inherent in his approach toward life—his weary “Why not?,” rather than indicating a hunger for life and experiences, is simply a default setting; saying no would require an energy and focus he lacks. And just when Cecilia comes to the realization that she loves Claudio and is ready to commit to a genuine relationship, fate steps in once again.
In lucid, melancholy prose, supplely rendered into English by Anne Milano Appel, Andrea Canobbio sketches a fable of love poisoned by indecision and ambivalence in Three Light-Years, laying bare the dangers of playing it safe when it comes to matters of the heart.