My Souls is Wherever You Are: A Crime, A Treasure, A Love Story by Aldo Cazzulllo is a novel spanning seven decades in just over one hundred and fifty pages. Cazzullo is an Italian journalist from Alba, Italy, coincidentally where the story takes place. He is a columnist for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Seraand a best selling author of history and current affairs books. This is his first novel.
I looked at this book several times before picking it up. The crime and mystery books are not my usual thing, but something kept me coming back to this book. It has history, which is a draw for me, but what kept me coming back is the cover. I usually don’t fall for the cover art when selecting books, but this one hooked me. There is a young Italian woman, a partisan, staring out with a determined look on face and a machine pistol slung over her shoulder. There is a red scarf around her neck . She was an anti-fascist or, by another name, a communist fighting for her country, Italy. She is a central part of the story and the cover explains so much it.
The story takes place in three different time periods: 1945, 1963, and 2011. In 1945 the Italian resistance fighters are fighting the remaining fascist and Nazis in Italy. The story focuses on several people beginning in the resistance fight and their connection to Virginia and a missing treasure. The story is told in very short chapters, most barely stretching into a second page. The chapters alternate between the three different years slowly tying to together the events that lead up to and explain to the murder of the former resistance leader Domenico Moresco on April 25, 2011 which is introduced in the opening chapter.
The short chapters and jumping from year to year takes a little getting used to. However, once the reader falls into the rhythm, the story flows well and is easy to follow. The time jumps also help keep the story short and to the point. By limiting the events to basically three days in a seventy year period, focus is maintained to only the relative events and people.
Although short and admittedly drawn in by the cover, I was surprised at the quality of the story and enjoyed the book. There is also a little history in the book too. Everyone who has taken a history class has heard of the French Resistance, this is an introduction for many to the Italian Resistance. The story is quite a web of people and events and will hold most readers attention. A very good read.