Matteo Poletti was born in Susa in 1979. He graduated in History of Cinema at the DAMS course of Turin. He worked for some online magazines that are about cinema and he published an essay about Blake Edwards called “Il tocco della pantera” (2010, ed. Il Principe Costante). In 2006, he had his debut as a writer with some short, thriller stories that won a few literary contests. One of those stories, “Il cane di velluto”, got published in the series Gialli Mondadori.
In 2008, he was the winner of the literary contest “L’indizio Nascosto” with his thriller “Lo sguardo di Carola”, which got published the following year with “Terza Pagina Edizioni”.
In 2015, he won the Bukowski National Prize with his novel “Jam Session”, which got published in 2016 with “Giovane Holden Edizioni”. In 2016, one of his short stories won the contest “Parole Resistenti” held in Atessa (Chieti).
He is co-author of the blog “Restart”. He lives and works in Valsusa.
His novel Splendida giornata per un funerale (A Wonderful Day for a Funeral) is out on 15th May 2018 with Sperling & Kupfer.
Nemo is thirty years old and, to support himself, he works in his family’s funeral home as the one responsible for stretchers. As a matter of fact, he does his job so unenthusiastically and inattentively that more often than not he just causes problems, for the desperation of those uncles and cousins who work with him. He used to be a photography lover, but he abandoned his passion after putting some of his pictures on display – even though the public reacted reasonably well to the exhibit. That’s when he became unsociable, emotionless and indifferent and that’s when his uncontrollable and apprehensive family started to worry about him.
One day, his job takes him to Novalesa, a small town located somewhere nearby Turin, to take care of the funeral of Aurora Vannelli Conticini, an old lady that he actually knew. Nemo, who lived in Novalesa for a while to attend a private high-school, is forced to think about his adolescence and to see his former teachers and classmates again. Among them, there used to be Carlo, his best friend during those years, who disappeared when he was 17. Nobody has seen him since then. During Aurora’s funeral, Nemo gets to speak with her sister, Malvina, a slightly mad woman with a passion for spiritualism who, moved by guilt, is always talking about the past. Malvina thinks that her sister didn’t die a natural death, and foresees the same fate for herself. Her prophecy turns into reality when, a week later, she dies after a suspect fall caused by ice. Nemo, who saw a picture of Carlo in Aurora and Malvina’s house (picture that mysteriously disappeared shortly after), is
convinced that Carlo’s disappearance ten years before and these two deaths are linked. It is to find out what happened to Carlo that he abandons his apathy and goes back to Novalesa. While looking for him, Nemo gets to evaluate and rethink about his past, his choices, his fears, his abandoned passions and his tired way of existing instead of actually living.
Everything is still the same in that narrow-minded, suffocating place – full of prejudices, rules and rigidity – where conformists think of themselves as rulers, today just like ten years ago, although in fact their being moralists is just an act. However, Nemo’s investigation succeeds in upsetting that small community: regrets and remorse are unearthed and everyone is forced to deal with their past, their undisclosed desires and their lost opportunities. But, above it all, the investigation allows Nemo to find his true self, to abandon the sloth he has been friend with for so long and to make peace with his creative muse.