The Cursed Friend

Beatrice Salvioni


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HarperCollins Publishers
20 June 2024
ISBN: 9780008694685
240 pages

From the publisher

Translated from the Italian by Elena Pala

A thrilling debut novel and timeless tale of female friendship

An unbreakable, life-changing friendship will lead two young girls from different worlds to rebel against the sexism, prejudice and injustice they face living in 1930s Italy in this moving novel that echoes the spirit Elena Ferrante's beloved works.

'Richly imaginedOBSERVER

'A widescreen, sensory, visual story' THE TIMES

It is 1936 in the small Italian city of Monza. On the pebbled bank of the Lambro, two frantic girls scramble to hide a body.

A year earlier, Maddalena attracts stares everywhere she goes. ‘The Cursed One’, they whisper, as tales of the harm she’s inflicted upon those that have crossed her ignite fear and scorn amongst the townspeople.

Francesca is not scared like the others. Respectable, well-behaved and yearning for a life beyond provincial conformity, she is drawn to Maddalena’s rebellious spirit. When, one day, she finds herself telling a lie to save her, this split-second decision irrevocably binds the girls together.

From this moment on they will go to any length to protect one another, even if that leads to a terrible violence.