Where She Has Gone: A Novel
Set in Toronto and Italy, this powerful sequel to In a Glass House explores the sometimes forbidden aspect of desire and one’s longing for what is unrecoverable.
Victor Innocente remeets his half-sister in Toronto, shortly after his father’s death. Uneasy with their new proximity in each other’s lives, they are at first restrained. But gradually what is unspoken between them comes closer to the surface, setting in motion a course of events that will take Victor back to Valle del Sole in Italy, the place of his birth. It is there, where the story had its strange beginning twenty years earlier, that he confronts his past, its secrets and its revelations.
Poignant, gripping, and written in luminous, highly charged prose, Where She Has Gone is an unforgettable novel—for its vivid portrayal of character and place, and for its extraordinarily moving encounter with the past.
Where She Has Gone, Nino Ricci’s third novel, is the final volume of the trilogy inaugurated by the best-selling The Lives of the Saints (winner of the Governor General’s Award, among many other accolades) and In a Glass House. While In a Glass House is an expansive novel, rolling through two decades of Victor Innocente’s life, Where She Has Gone is full of speed, passion, and intimacy, covering a few short months of transgression and doubt. Following the death of his father, Victor, a worldly, slightly ascetic graduate student, rebuilds his relationship with Rita, his half-sister, who has just begun an undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto. Victor’s relationship with Rita was never simple, but now it becomes fraught with entirely new troubles: an unspoken sexual tension begins to develop between them, and its intensity refuses to abate. Their reeling, half-understood emotions send them, separately, back to Valle del Sole in Italy, their ancestral village, to confront the mysteries of their family and the weight of their culture.
Ricci handles this incestuous relationship amazingly well, making it both believable and entirely sympathetic. Where She Has Gone does slow a little when Rita removes herself from the action, leaving Victor alone with his obsessions, but it never entirely loses its momentum. Those who are really interested in Ricci’s work should begin with The Lives of the Saints, but Where She Has Gone is a compelling, sensuous novel, well worth reading in its own right. —Jack Illingworth