Marco Gentile was born in Acerenza, Italy and he spent his childhood running through the hills around the town. Moving to Canada later in life, he becomes a lawyer and ultimately the CEO of an automobile manufacturer. But when a vital decision about the future of the company leaves Mark wondering about his moral compass and the courage of his convictions, he asks for and receives the blessing of his wife and daughter to resign his job and return to his childhood home in Southern Italy to get in touch with the man he really is. It is through this ethical dilemma that Mark will ultimately choose the direction in which he wants to go moving forward and it is by returning to a place that has always nurtured him that he can face the decisions he needs to make.
There is quite a long, drawn-out section at the start of the book about Mark's professional life and his ascension to the role of CEO of the automobile company. It is, in many ways, a fictional resume for Mark and unfortunately, it is about as compelling to read as most resumes are, which is to say, not terribly. Once Mark makes the decision to resign his position and to travel back to Acerenza, the pace of the book picks up, as did my interest. The description of the slower pace of life in this small village is appealing and Mark's reconnection with people he used to know as a child is nice. But the description, the hospitality and easy comraderie, and Mark's ponderings about the future go on just a bit too long. Mid-life crises can certainly drag and decisions can continue to be deferred indefinitely in real life but in a book the author risks losing the reader. And I have to admit I was among the casualties. The charm wore off and I was left feeling apathetic toward the character and his dilemma about how to balance the two important aspects of his life, wishing he'd just do something soon. The combination of the business focused part at the beginning and the soporific pace at the end combined to make this less than satisfying for me. It had potential; it just didn't meet it for me.
Thanks to Megan at Phenix Publicity for sending me a copy of this book for review.