100 Days of Happiness: A Novel

Valutazione media 3,91
( su 1.895 valutazioni fornite da Goodreads )
 
9780525427377: 100 Days of Happiness: A Novel

“Funny, moving. . . I defy anyone to finish this story without tears in their eyes.” —Graeme Simsion, bestselling author of The Rosie Project

What would you do if you knew you only had 100 days left to live? For Lucio Battistini, it’s a chance to spend the rest of his life the way he always should have—by making every moment count.

Imperfect, unfaithful, but loveable Lucio has been thrown out of the house by his wife and is sleeping at his father-in-law’s bombolini bakery when he learns he has inoperable cancer. So begin the last hundred days of Lucio’s life, as he attempts to right his wrongs, win back his wife (the love of his life and afterlife), and spend the next three months enjoying every moment with a zest he hasn’t felt in years. In 100 epigrammatic chapters—one for each of Lucio’s remaining days on earth—100 Days of Happiness is as delicious as a hot doughnut and a morning cappuccino. 

Wistful, touching, and often hilarious, 100 Days of Happiness reminds us all to remember the preciousness of life and what matters most.

Le informazioni nella sezione "Riassunto" possono far riferimento a edizioni diverse di questo titolo.

About the Author:

Fausto Brizzi is an Italian director, screenwriter, and film producer. The Night Before Exams, his debut directorial work, won him numerous awards, including the David di Donatello. 100 Days of Happiness is his first novel, which was a bestseller in Italy and has been sold in more than twenty countries.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

 

Allow me to tell you about the three most important days of my life. I wouldn’t want any of the three to think I’m playing favorites, so I’ll list them in strict chronological order.

 * * * 

The first was Friday, October 13, 1972. Friday, the thirteenth.

On that date, as a Fokker turboprop crash-landed in the Andes with forty-five passengers who would ultimately devour each other to survive, Antonio and Carla, that is to say, my mom and dad, eighteen at the time, conceived me in the backseat of an unprepossessing off-white Citroën Dyane. The two teens had parked their vintage junker in a large empty square on the outskirts of Rome, included in the zoning plan by far-seeing city administrators as a handy refuge for lovebirds. It was a bleak setting, filled by the occasional abandoned refrigerator and stacks of battered cars.

A perfect backdrop for a tender love story.

Antonio and Carla had met that afternoon at a birthday party for Manrico, a sweaty overweight loser from Frascati who’d been pining after Mamma ever since middle school. She’d just turned down his offer to join him in a slow dance to the languid notes of a young Elton John. And that’s when she saw Papà staring at her from a distance and almost choked on her tuna, mayo, and tomato panino. And, truth be told, Papà was the kind of guy who regularly made girls choke on their panini. He was tall, skinny, and too cool for school; he played the electric guitar and regularly wrote rock music cribbed shamelessly from lesser-known songs by the Rolling Stones. He resembled Sean Connery’s better-looking brother, but with a scar on one cheek that gave him a mysterious smolder that 007 could only dream of. He could hold a roomful of people rapt for hours with stories about how he’d got that scar. Depending on the audience, either he’d received it in a bloody brawl in an open-air market in Mexico City, or else he’d been stabbed by a hulking rugby player from the mountains of Bergamo, brooding over a two-timing wife and a welter of painfully justifiable suspicions. Or else it had been that time that Frank Sinatra broke a bottle over his head because he couldn’t stand what a good singer Antonio was.

Papà was a professional bullshit artist so outstanding in his lying skills that if he’d set his mind to it, he could easily have become prime minister of Italy. But I, and I alone, knew the truth, whispered to me by a dangerous double agent from the south, namely, my aunt Pina: Papà had taken a tumble with his tricycle when he was three and had landed face-first on the sidewalk. Be that as it may, Antonio the lady-killer liked to retire each night to the backseat of his Citroën Dyane with a different blushing passenger. That night it was Mamma’s turn, and she was indeed seduced but not, however, abandoned because at the very instant of supreme pleasure, a red Fiat 500 smashed into the rear fender of my parents’ car. At the wheel and riding shotgun were two half-drunk twenty-year-olds from Frosinone, completely unaware of the role they’d played in tearing a condom at a crucial moment, thereby directly contributing to my advent on life’s grand stage. So let me say it now, guys, wherever you may be: my sincere thanks.

 * * * 

That fateful Friday, the thirteenth, I’d been set down on planet Earth as an uninvited guest, but that never kept Antonio and Carla from showering me with a fair-to-moderate amount of parental love, at least for as long as they were married. That’s another story, though, and an infinitely sad one. If I’m up for it, I’ll tell you about it later.

 * * * 

The second most important day of my life was September 11, 2001. While everyone in the world was staring at their TV sets as special news broadcasts played and replayed footage of two Boeing 767s slamming into New York’s Twin Towers, giving the rest of the world a new enigma to puzzle over and the American people a new enemy, I was in a restaurant at the beach with all of my closest friends, and Paola, the love of my life. It was a classic end-of-summer dinner, and it had been planned for weeks, but in truth this was no ordinary grilled-seafood banquet: it was the night I was going to ask Paola to marry me, the furthest thing imaginable from her mind—and my friends’ minds.

An elderly waiter had agreed to be my accomplice. For a twenty-euro tip he’d douse the lights, play our song (which, for the record, was and remains “Always on My Mind,” in Elvis’s immortal rendition), and triumphantly wheel in a gigantic mimosa cake with the engagement ring perched on top, concealed inside a bar of extra-dark chocolate.

It was a meticulously planned event: a night sky so bright with stars that it looked like a Christmas manger scene, a group of friends so warm and sincere that it could have been a TV commercial for an Italian after-dinner drink, and a gentle sea breeze so agreeable that it could have been God’s ceiling fan set on low. Every detail was perfect. Or almost.

I’d failed to reckon with my best friend, Umberto, who is a veterinarian.

When the cake made its entrance, he leaped from his chair and prankishly swiped the chocolate bar, exclaiming: “Guys, this chocolate bar’s all mine!”

Crunch.

Next thing you know, the gold engagement ring had shattered a molar.

Emergency run to the dentist’s office. So long, magical and unforgettable romantic interlude.

 * * * 

Despite the pathetic outcome of the evening’s main event, Paola said yes.

We were married early the following year in a charming little Gothic church on the outskirts of Milan, and it’s one of the few things I’ve never regretted.

Paola is the star of my life. And as far as I’m concerned, she deserves at the very least an Oscar for her performance in the role of my wife. The story of her starring role in my life comes later.

 * * * 

The third day I’ll never forget was a Sunday, July 14, 2013, exactly one week after my fortieth birthday. I should have guessed it was a special day because there were no shocking aviation disasters to steal my thunder.

It was a useless, tropical summer Sunday, and nothing noteworthy at all took place. Except for the fact that at about 1:27 p.m., I took my last breath and died.

 * * * 

I know, I know, now I’ve spoiled the ending and you’re not going to want to read the rest of the book. Well, because you can’t unread a spoiler and I’ve ruined the plot, but you’ve already bought the book and just stopping at page 4 is no fun either, I’ll go ahead and tell you the name of the killer. That’s right, even though this is no Agatha Christie murder mystery, there is a killer. In fact, I think we can say a serial killer because the villain in question has killed not just me, but millions of people, the kind of career achievement that could give Hitler or Hannibal Lecter an inferiority complex. Every year, roughly a third of all deaths can be attributed to this killer. Statistics tell us that we’re talking about the leading cause of death in the Western world. In short, I’m in very good company.

 * * * 

This killer has just a short, simple first name, astrological and deeply unfunny: Cancer. Some call it tumor, which is Latin for “swelling” (so it turns out that studying Latin was useful after all), but physicians call it neoplasia, which means “new formation” in ancient Greek (so it turns out studying ancient Greek was useful too). But I’ve always called it l’amico Fritz, in Italian, just like the name of the opera by Leoncavallo. My buddy Fritz.

This is the story of how I lived the last hundred days of my existence here on planet Earth, in the company of my buddy Fritz.

And how, in spite of all expectations to the contrary, those were the happiest days of my life.

 

 

PREVIOUSLY, ON THIS SAME SHOW

At this point, I’ll need to take a step back and give you a brief summary of my life up to the past few months; otherwise you’ll have a hard time following the plot, sort of like watching the sixth season of Lost.

 * * * 

My first name is Lucio, which in the all-time hit parade of bad first names comes in seventh, after Pino, Rocco, Furio, Ruggero, Gino, and the unparalleled and unbeatable Gennaro. My mother was a fan of good old Lucio Battisti, whose voice back then was pouring out of every jukebox in Italy with songs like “La canzone del sole,” and so there you have it, my John Hancock for the rest of my life: Lucio Battistini. Get it? The most popular singer in the country is Lucio Battisti, and I’m little Lucio Battisti because my father’s last name was Battistini! Do you see now why my whole life has been an uphill climb? Just think of a kid in the seventies: Fatso, Pizza Face, glasses with Coke-bottle lenses, and stuck with almost the same name as Italy’s most famous singer. Admit it, you’d have made fun of me too.

I’ll confess, I was neurotic, miserable, and self-sabotaging. Today I’d go by a different, shorter, almost affectionate term: nerd. I had every defect needed to drive the girls away like an escapee from a leper colony, including an unhealthy obsession with comic books, splatter flicks, and songs by suicidal crooners. I had only two paths open to me in life: either I could become a computer genius, design an operating system in a garage somewhere and make billions, or else I could walk into a supermarket with a submachine gun and become a mass murderer. When my face made the evening news, all my neighbors, relatives, and friends would comment, without getting too worked up about it: “Odd? Yes, he was odd!”

Instead, I identified a third way, and, from ugly duckling that I was, I turned into a swan. Not a fabulous super swan, but a perfectly respectable swan, fully deserving a passing grade, a gentleman’s C. When I was fourteen, I lost forty-five pounds, chiefly because of a raging hormonal hurricane, and got contact lenses. Three years later, still a minor, I became Italy’s youngest water polo champion ever, Series A, Italy’s major league, and no laughing matter. Truth be told, I was just a stand-in goalie, and I spent almost all my time warming the bench in a terrycloth robe, but I did play short stretches of two games that year, and once I even blocked a penalty shot, so the title still holds.

Swimming has always been my favorite sport, and my specialty was the butterfly, which kids all call the dolphin kick out of an innate sense of logic, because butterflies can’t swim. I never became a real contender because of a basic conflict of interest with the other fully requited love of my life: bread, butter, and jam. Easy to calculate: 110 calories in a slice of bread plus 75 calories of butter plus 80 calories of jam, total 265 calories. Unfair odds.

I laboriously managed to maintain my washboard abs for ten years; then, when I hit age twenty-six, I gave up competitive sports after a Vespa crash that devastated the ligaments in my knee and resulted in the inexorable expansion of my waistline. According to my own disagreeable reckoning, I gained back the 45 pounds I’d lost as a teenager and possibly a few more on top of them. Think of a Chewbacca, standing six feet three inches and topping out at 240 pounds. Got it?

 * * * 

So: I finish high school with a focus on the humanities, I play water polo, I get a certificate at the Institute of Higher Studies in physical education, and at age twenty-eight I get a job in a gym. Not a gleaming picture-perfect gym like you’d see in a John Travolta movie, no, just a local gym in an outlying neighborhood, tucked away in the basement of a discouraging complex of fifties-style apartment buildings. There’s even an undersized swimming pool with faded blue ceramic tiles that secretly dream of being reborn as part of a Club Med infinity pool somewhere in the Caribbean. I am the—cue drumroll and trumpet fanfare, thank you—swimming instructor, aerobics coach, LAB expert (make that L.A.B., for “legs, abs, butt”) and, most important of all, aquagym point person. In my off hours, I also work as a personal trainer, on request, usually for plus-sized desperate housewives who are stubbornly holding out against the inevitability of liposuction. In short, I make ends meet, working with my hands—which emit a perennial odor of chlorine. By the way, did you know that the smell of chlorine—which we all know well as far back as we can remember—is actually generated by the chemical interaction of chlorine itself with swimmers’ urine? The stronger the smell of chlorine the less advisable it is to get in the pool. Now don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In other words, after growing up on dreams of Olympic gold medals draped on my chest as the captain of the Italian national water polo team, the Settebello, with the national anthem blaring out over the crowd and goosebumps running up and down my arms, I found myself forced to settle for the job that life had saddled me with. That is, six hours a day spent in a calisthenic subbasement where the scent of sweat blended magically with the odors from the Vietnamese restaurant next door. But in my spare time, I did manage to achieve a little dream of mine: coaching a boys’ water polo team. All of them between fourteen and fifteen, the worst of all ages. I recruited them at the school where my wife teaches, and I coach them at a city pool a couple of evenings a week, with results that I have to admit have been pretty disappointing. Last year, after lots of hard work and lots of goals put through at our expense, our ranking in the boys’ water polo league championship for our province was a brilliant second from bottom. And luckily, we couldn’t be kicked down to the minor leagues because we were already as minor league as it gets. This year, though, we’re bobbing along in the middle of the league: could be better, could be worse. I can’t complain: teaching kids to love sports is the most wonderful thing there is.

 * * * 

So that’s my life in professional terms, and then there’s the more important aspect, which I’ve already mentioned in passing: my family. I met Paola when I was twenty, at a pub; she was the girlfriend of a girlfriend of a girl in my class. Usually the girlfriends of the girlfriends of the girls in my class were uninteresting unlovely skinny runts. But when Paola walked into the place, it was like she was radiating with the phosphorescent glow of a yellow highlighter that called her out over all the other women there that night. A bright yellow aura gleamed around her entire silhouette, identifying her as the one thing I wanted to be sure not to forget. Like a phrase you need to commit to memory, learn by heart. Ten minutes later I’d already extended a pickup artist’s smarmy invitation to come watch my water polo team compete (and I’d already made a mental note to go down on my knees and beg the coach to let me play at least two minutes in that match). At the time, I was still a professional player and she worked in her parents’ little pastry shop, which, over time, played a fundamental role in the loss of my fighting trim and my a...

Le informazioni nella sezione "Su questo libro" possono far riferimento a edizioni diverse di questo titolo.

I migliori risultati di ricerca su AbeBooks

1.

Brizzi, Fausto
Editore: Viking Books 2015-08-11 (2015)
ISBN 10: 0525427376 ISBN 13: 9780525427377
Nuovi Rilegato Quantità: > 20
Da
BookOutlet
(Thorold, ON, Canada)
Valutazione libreria
[?]

Descrizione libro Viking Books 2015-08-11, 2015. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Hardcover. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Codice libro della libreria 9780525427377B

Maggiori informazioni su questa libreria | Fare una domanda alla libreria

Compra nuovo
EUR 6,18
Convertire valuta

Aggiungere al carrello

Spese di spedizione: EUR 5,15
Da: Canada a: U.S.A.
Destinazione, tempi e costi

2.

Fausto Brizzi
Editore: Pamela Dorman Books, United States (2015)
ISBN 10: 0525427376 ISBN 13: 9780525427377
Nuovi Rilegato Quantità: 1
Da
The Book Depository US
(London, Regno Unito)
Valutazione libreria
[?]

Descrizione libro Pamela Dorman Books, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Funny, moving. . . I defy anyone to finish this story without tears in their eyes. Graeme Simsion, bestselling author of The Rosie Project What would you do if you knew you only had 100 days left to live?For Lucio Battistini, it s a chance to spend the rest of his life the way he always should have by making every moment count. Imperfect, unfaithful, but loveable Lucio has been thrown out of the house by his wife and is sleeping at his father-in-law s bombolini bakery when he learns he has inoperable cancer. So begin the last hundred days of Lucio s life, as he attempts to right his wrongs, win back his wife (the love of his life and afterlife), and spend the next three months enjoying every moment with a zest he hasn t felt in years. In 100 epigrammatic chapters one for each of Lucio s remaining days on earth 100 Days of Happiness is as delicious as a hot doughnut and a morning cappuccino. Wistful, touching, and often hilarious, 100 Days of Happiness reminds us all to remember the preciousness of life and what matters most. Codice libro della libreria FLT9780525427377

Maggiori informazioni su questa libreria | Fare una domanda alla libreria

Compra nuovo
EUR 24,53
Convertire valuta

Aggiungere al carrello

Spese di spedizione: GRATIS
Da: Regno Unito a: U.S.A.
Destinazione, tempi e costi

3.

Fausto Brizzi
Editore: Pamela Dorman Books, United States (2015)
ISBN 10: 0525427376 ISBN 13: 9780525427377
Nuovi Rilegato Quantità: 1
Da
The Book Depository
(London, Regno Unito)
Valutazione libreria
[?]

Descrizione libro Pamela Dorman Books, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Funny, moving. . . I defy anyone to finish this story without tears in their eyes. Graeme Simsion, bestselling author of The Rosie Project What would you do if you knew you only had 100 days left to live?For Lucio Battistini, it s a chance to spend the rest of his life the way he always should have by making every moment count. Imperfect, unfaithful, but loveable Lucio has been thrown out of the house by his wife and is sleeping at his father-in-law s bombolini bakery when he learns he has inoperable cancer. So begin the last hundred days of Lucio s life, as he attempts to right his wrongs, win back his wife (the love of his life and afterlife), and spend the next three months enjoying every moment with a zest he hasn t felt in years. In 100 epigrammatic chapters one for each of Lucio s remaining days on earth 100 Days of Happiness is as delicious as a hot doughnut and a morning cappuccino. Wistful, touching, and often hilarious, 100 Days of Happiness reminds us all to remember the preciousness of life and what matters most. Codice libro della libreria FLT9780525427377

Maggiori informazioni su questa libreria | Fare una domanda alla libreria

Compra nuovo
EUR 24,53
Convertire valuta

Aggiungere al carrello

Spese di spedizione: GRATIS
Da: Regno Unito a: U.S.A.
Destinazione, tempi e costi

4.

Fausto Brizzi
Editore: Pamela Dorman Books (2015)
ISBN 10: 0525427376 ISBN 13: 9780525427377
Nuovi Rilegato Quantità: 1
Da
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Valutazione libreria
[?]

Descrizione libro Pamela Dorman Books, 2015. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 0525427376

Maggiori informazioni su questa libreria | Fare una domanda alla libreria

Compra nuovo
EUR 33,24
Convertire valuta

Aggiungere al carrello

Spese di spedizione: GRATIS
In U.S.A.
Destinazione, tempi e costi

5.

Brizzi, Fausto
Editore: Pamela Dorman Books (2015)
ISBN 10: 0525427376 ISBN 13: 9780525427377
Nuovi Rilegato Quantità: 2
Da
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Valutazione libreria
[?]

Descrizione libro Pamela Dorman Books, 2015. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110525427376

Maggiori informazioni su questa libreria | Fare una domanda alla libreria

Compra nuovo
EUR 45,53
Convertire valuta

Aggiungere al carrello

Spese di spedizione: EUR 2,57
In U.S.A.
Destinazione, tempi e costi