Book Review: The Book of Hidden Things – Francesco Dimitri

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A story of bonds and transgressions, reality and the secret things beyond it. The Book of Hidden Things, Francesco Dimitri’s debut English novel, follows a group of old friends meeting in Salento, Italy, only to discover that one of their number has disappeared. Just like the first time when they were kids… The idea of magic lingers throughout their investigation into the town’s mafioso underbelly.

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Fantasy & Philosophy

The reader is plunged in a ‘what if’ scenario, its frame made of existential and philosophical questions. The mystery surrounding their friend, Art, unravels and his suspicious, but also miraculous, activities come to light. He may have lost his mind. But what if the fantastic experiences and theories in his Book of Hidden Things are in fact true? A part of reality only accessible to the most determined and desperate.

Human Existence

The Book of Hidden Things is as much about enduring normality as it is about escaping it. Transgression appears in many forms in this book, portrayed through the eyes of each of Art’s three friends. Their stories have their ups and downs, as well as visceral drives that make them question their lives and often underwhelming, corrupt world. At its core, however, the book is about friendship’s survival of both transgression and reality’s obstacles.

Motivating Pace and Setting

Art’s friends turn into detectives in order to discover his fate and the exciting pace of the investigation keeps the reader’s interest alive. It paints a vivid picture of Italy’s landscape, culture and customs, including tantalizingly detailed dishes. The appetite developed contrasts with the often stomach-turning happenings in the innocuous town of Salento, the mafia’s domain and Art’s playground.


For his first attempt at an English novel, Dimitri has done a brilliant job bringing his unique story to life. It’s bursting with Italian flair and evocative, mind-bending ideas. Fans of fantasy and strange fiction should not miss the experience of The Book of Hidden Things

Grab your copy: Waterstones, Amazon, AbeBooks

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Author: Electra Nanou

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