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The Book of Hidden Things

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3.54  ·  Rating details ·  1,871 ratings  ·  262 reviews
Four old school friends have a pact: to meet up every year in the small town in Puglia they grew up in. Art, the charismatic leader of the group and creator of the pact, insists that the agreement must remain unshakable and enduring. But this year, he never shows up.

A visit to his house increases the friends' worry; Art is farming marijuana. In Southern Italy doing that ki
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Paperback, 385 pages
Published June 19th 2018 by Titan Books
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3.54  · 
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 ·  1,871 ratings  ·  262 reviews


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☆High Lady of The Night Court☆
“The kingdom of Hidden Things is different from our own, as the sky is different from the land, but I was sure that, as you can fly up in the sky, so there had to be a way to get there. And I was right.”

If you have read the blurb of this book and liked it go read the first few pages. If you’re not in the mood or if you’re forcing yourself to read more, stop. Stop and come back to it when you are interested and when you will fly through the book. This book deserves your full attention and I hop
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Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/08/27/...

In general, I find that a good book usually elicits one of two responses from me: 1) bury my nose in its pages and not come up for air until I’m done, or 2) draw out the experience as long as I can, sipping it like a fine wine in order to properly savor all the flavors and textures the story has to offer. The Book of Hidden Things definitely fell into the latter category, which happens far less often, so for this reason,
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Ioana
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Argh, I am so very sad and frustrated at my rating of this suspenseful, engrossing novel. The magic-infused surrealist story aligned perfectly with my whimsical light-fantasy mood, but alas THE MISOGYNY oozing from every page induced dramatic eye rolls, exasperated annoyance, and occasional urges to yell loudly at men (ok not all men, but at least, at Dimitri).

First, a bit about the story - which, had it been done without the abject objectification and sexualization of women, I would have immer
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Campbell
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
It's been a long time since I devoured a novel in a day, so it's safe to say this was intensely readable.

Apart from the ending making absolutely no sense at all (at least, to me) I rather enjoyed it. A real shame about that ending, though.
Nicole Beaudry
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery, adult
The Book of Hidden Things is Italian fantasy author Francesco Dimitri's first English novel. Wikipedia describes his writing as New Weird, urban fantasy, steampunk, horror. The Book of Hidden Things is, certainly, unlike anything I've read before. Part mystery, part psychological thriller, part fantasy, it's an entirely engrossing read. It is not just absorbing - it absorbs. As a reader, it was nearly impossible to put down. The story spins itself out in bursts, and the Southern Italian setting ...more
Quirkybookworm
Aug 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: doomed-books
This book totally pissed me off! So f@&(;@ unrealistic! Oh yeah! Dummy me didn’t look closely at the alleged beautiful cover to notice a hung dead dog? Who the hell would do something like that let alone read about among other death. I will absolutely not read another book by the author. The author really pissed me off along with the editor and publisher. WTH were they thinking ?
Amerie
Mar 11, 2019 added it
Recommends it for: Readers who love hints of magic in their realism and irreverant humor
Amazing. Strange and page-turning with plenty of irreverant humor and great insights regarding family, friendships, and growing up. Wonderful for readers who enjoyed The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins.
Cait
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don't want to write too much about this book, as I think it'll be difficult to do without some serious spoilers, but I will say this:
1) The description waaaay undersells it. I almost didn't read it, but who am I to turn down a free ARC?
2) This ^ is probably because you won't know what this book is until finishing it- and even then, you might not. It is completely engrossing, has twists and turns you really won't expect, features characters that you might not like very much- but goddamn if you
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Nikki
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, fantasy
Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

I wasn’t sure about this book from the blurb, but some trusted reviewers (e.g. Mogsy of Bibliosanctum) thought extremely highly of it, and I kept seeing it on the shelves, so when I finally spotted it at the library I thought I’d give it a go. I have to say, I’m not sold on it, but I also feel like I need to talk through my thoughts before I really decide.

So, what’s it about? It starts with the Pact: a group of four friends, who knew each other from childhood and g
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Doreen
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: titan
In all honesty, I can't decide whether I liked that ending or not. It sorta demands more storytelling when this book is clearly complete as it is, and while I could not help but smile in satisfaction at the last word of the novel, I also felt -- in hindsight and not, crucially, at the time itself -- that it leaves things open-ended in a way that is less "here, go play with your imagination and interpret as you will" and more "teehee, there is more that I'm not telling you, too bad." Which, for a ...more
Linda Robinson
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A rapid look at the new book shelf brought this book into my hands, and I'm glad. Four friends who have met each year for 17 years in their hometown in southern, southern Italy to congratulate themselves for having gotten away to the wider world, meet again. Three only show up. Arturo does not. It is not the first time Art has disappeared. The last time he'd scarpered, the 3 teenaged friends ran away from the olive grove that Art entered and from which he did not emerge. When he showed 7 days la ...more
Thesincouch
Sep 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
Ok, so I did not like this book but this does not mean that no one is going to, because Dimitri writes really well. This book was too bloke-ish for me, for starters, but his writing will make up for it to other people, I'm sure.

A minor thing that I realised annoyed me half-way through the book; the way he explained the Italian terms but still used them. It confused them because I thought that these characters were talking among themselves in Italian (and with other people as they are Italian an
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Katy
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
It is such a stretch to call this a fantasy novel- the fantasy is the hidden thing in The Book of Hidden Things, a story of mundane middle aged men and their typical issues. An ailing parent, a troubled career, a fizzling marriage. It’s a prettily written, masculine book about friendship and returning home. I didn’t enjoy it much because I’m very nosy and I like to know what’s going on, but The Book of Hidden Things is a slow burn mystery that doesn’t let you in until the very end.

“I have been
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Chris
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it
“The Pact,” an agreement between four long time friends; Art, Tony, Mauro and Fabio, to meet every year, same time, same place in Southern Italy. This year, Art, does not show up or answers his phone, which causes the trio to question his whereabouts and begin a search. Art has always been odd and had an experience earlier in life where he went missing for seven days. The town and the three friends all searched for him with no clues and were giving up on finding him. When he miraculously shows b ...more
Diana
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, fantasy
The Book of Hidden Things [2018] – ★★★★

This book is the first English-language novel of an Italian author Francesco Dimitri. It is set in the south of Italy and begins with three friends arriving to a cafe in Casalfranco, Puglia, and missing the fourth person. These guys made a pact when they were young that each year – on 10th June – no matter where they are in their lives they will return to their home town and toast their childhood friendship anew. This year, Fabio, a London photographer, To
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Eldarwen
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
The flow of the story was amazing. I felt myself dragged along the pages with the guys, from one realisation to the next one, not sure which one of them was more messed up. Tony, Fabio, Mauro and Art are all flawed in their own way and being along for the ride when some of the eye-openers hit or the blindfolds are ripped away was intense.

I didn't care much for Art and the last few chapters of the book, where Art and his ramblings are concerned, were a bit out there and not too much to my taste -
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Literary Han Rodgman
I have no idea what to say about this book. Well nearly no idea.

We should start off with did I like the book? Yeah, you could say I did. Was it perfect? No. But that didn’t make it less enjoyable.

This crossed genres of crime, fantasy and good-old-fashioned mystery. It was sold to me as a fantasy book and I just tell you all, it isn’t. Yes it has some fantastical elements and you do have to suspend belief throughout but I wouldn’t say it was fantasy.

The writing was easy to follow. However, I d
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Angela
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
The book was too graphic and disturbing in places. I thought of quitting a few times. However, the story line was intriguing enough for me to want to see it to the end. The end turned into one of those twists that you expect from a short story, which made me want to yell, "hey, no fair."
Zezee
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Francesco Dimitri is an Italian author who has written several books in his native language and has now done a superb job of writing a fantasy novel in a foreign tongue — English. The Book of Hidden Things is his debut English novel that he translated himself. It’s about four friends — Fabio, Tony, Mauro, and Art — who made a pact at the end of high school to return to the same spot in their home town in Puglia, Italy, every year on the same date. But this time, Art, who instigated the pact, doe ...more
Kirsten Hamilton
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There’s a lot about this book that I can see can cause debate, and result in people not liking it. But this is an incredible read. It perfectly balances the beautiful sunny land of Italy with the brutality of reality and mans desperate search for something more than the mundane every day. The pace of it is perfect, the characters are fascinating, and the ending... left me smiling.
Jessi Cole
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
How can I resist an Italian novel with elements of the supernatural??
Cassandra **The Bibliophagist**
The cover has a lot of small details. Many of them linking to events that take place in a specific place int he story. I do have to say that I dislike the image of a dog being hanged on the front cover. Yes, there is animal death/sacrifice in this novel but there is no reason to flaunt it. Many people are put off by that. This could cause many readers to never pick up the book. Other than that, I do enjoy the color scheme and the touch of singed paper as a backstop for the title.

I want to first
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Oswego Public Library District
Four friends have grown and gone their separate ways, but they make a pact to return to their bucolic home village in Southern Italy once a year. Fabio is a photographer, Mauro a lawyer, Tony a surgeon, and Art is the odd and charismatic force that holds them all together. It comes time to meet, but this year, Art doesn’t show, and his friends have little choice but to go looking for him. They get wrapped up in a dark conspiracy they never expected, and it’s as if their friend vanished into thin ...more
Rpaul Tho
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Unlike other books in the fantasy column, this book does not throw all kinds of supernatural or fantasy elements at you and keeps you guessing until the end as to whether the fantasy part is real or imagined. That’s why I liked this book but also what made it lose a star for me. It is more of a mystery novel with a dash of fantasy. That being said, the characters were well written (with the exception of Mauro who I couldn’t stand and proved til the very end how annoying a person he was). I was h ...more
Lynn
Too much detailed sex. Too much everything negative and not enough...what?!? Not sure. But this book quit resonating for me at about page 200. Rather sorry I wasted my time reading it. But I did and I won’t bother with any others by this author.
Holly Smith-Kidd
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this novel from the first line. The writing is beautiful and evocative. I liked all the characters and understood their motivations. I devoured this novel in a day. It is simply beautiful, sympathetic, magical and sad. A study on how disappointed us 30 somethings are with the drudgery or reality, nostalgic for childhood and adventure.
Fantastic
Miranda Saville
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of the best books I’ve read so far this year! Magical and mysterious with high octane drama at the end. Really reminded me of The Secret History to begin with but it has its own unique spin on the genre. I think as well I’m the right age to really appreciate the underlying conceit and ideas of longing for the more colourful, simple past of youth and the barriers which exist to stop us.
Kristen
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book frustrated me until no end. I don’t know why this is considered fantasy. It’s a mystery drama about 4 friends. There’s nothing fantasy about it, just hypothetical talks about it. Too much was left blank for me to enjoy it. I just feel misled.
Katie
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really great book. The author does a great job of making the reader question what is real. Loved it.
Niamh Dyson
Oct 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Francesco Dimitri is an Italian author living in London.
“you can lie to everybody but yourself, because when you lie to yourself, all you do is train yourself to believe in lies, which makes it easier for your opponents to feed you theirs” 3 likes
“When you are young, you are immense—then you shrink. Everything is possible at five, but what is left for you at forty? With every choice you make you renounce all the choices you could have made instead, and so you become smaller and smaller, each choice consuming you a little, burning your possibilities, until nothing is left of you. Death is a progressive shrinking that brings you from vastness to nothingness” 2 likes
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