The Natural Disorder of Things is at once a murder mystery, a tale of erotic obsession, and a meditation on order and disorder, on fullness and emptiness, and on fathers and the traces they leave on their children. Claudio Fratta is a garden designer; a naturally solitary man, he is nonetheless a tender, playful companion to his nephews and a considerate colleague. But he's also obsessed with wreaking vengeance on the loan shark who bankrupted his father; pursuing an enigmatic, alluring woman; and wracked with guilt at having watched his brother die from an overdose.
Set in an Italian landscape both unchanged and deeply marked by the twentieth century, The Natural Disorder of Things is peopled with an authentic snapshot of contemporary Italy: wealthy dilettantes, ex-convicts, right-wing secessionists, left-wing conspiracy theorists, and immigrant Moroccan, Chinese, and Sikh workers.
Andrea Canobbio’s masterful and fluid prose captures not only the character of Claudio—who cannot stop mulling over his past—but the central theme of the book: that his history is a burden, a legacy of guilt, silence, and misunderstanding. Professionally, Claudio imposes order on the landscape, but he cannot lay to rest the tragic past for himself and the people he loves.