The Temptation to Be Happy

Pages: 256
Subject: Fiction, Translated Fiction
Imprint: Oneworld

The Temptation to Be Happy

Lorenzo Marone

Translated by Shaun Whiteside
A darkly comic tale of a septuagenarian rediscovering love and life in Naples
9781786072887 (5 Oct 2017)
RRP £12.99
9781786073525 (7 Jun 2018)
RRP £8.99 / US$15.99

The Book


‘Sad, funny, wise and unblinkingly honest, this is truly wonderful.' Daily Mail

Cesare is a seventy-seven-year-old widower and cynical troublemaker. He has lived his whole life by his own rules and has no intention of changing now. Aside from an intermittent fling with a nurse called Rossana, he spends his days avoiding the old cat lady next door and screening calls from his children.

But when the enigmatic Emma moves in next door with her strange and sinister husband, Cesare suspects there is more to their relationship than meets the eye. He enlists the other residents to help him investigate and soon discovers a new and unexpected sense of purpose that leads him to risk everything for a future he had never thought possible.

Laced with humour and pathos in equal measure, this is a delightful book to savour, for young and old alike - perfect for fans of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

'Immensely charming... Uplifting and very much on the side of life.' Mail on Sunday

Additional Information

Subject Fiction, Translated Fiction
Pages 256
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Lorenzo Marone was born in 1974. Originally trained as a lawyer, he gave up his career to follow his passion for writing. His first novel, The Temptation to Be Happy, is a major bestseller in Italy. It has been translated into fifteen languages and was used as the inspiration for a film released in Italy in April 2017. Lorenzo Marone lives in Naples with his wife and son.

Shaun Whiteside's translations from Italian include books by Tiziano Scarpa, Paolo Giordano, Melissa Panarello and Luther Blissett/Wu Ming Collective. He lives in London.


‘Sad, funny, wise and unblinkingly honest, this is truly wonderful.'

- Daily Mail

‘Uh-oh, here comes another one of those colourful curmudgeons who drop pearls of senior wisdom on their way to a new lease on life. Cesare certainly fits the stereotype, but he's funny, interesting and grumpy enough to stay on the winning side of the formula.'

- New York Times Book Review

‘Immensely charming... Uplifting and very much on the side of life.'

- Mail on Sunday

‘Marone's characters, irreverent and absurd, embark on adventures they had ceased to allow themselves to imagine in this darkly comedic take on ageing.'

- World Literature Today

‘An impressive literary feat…a charming tale of opportunities taken and missed.'

- Reading Magazine

‘Lorenzo Marone is the new voice that literature needs.'

- Corriere della Sera

‘Unforgettable...comical and cynical while remaining tender and dramatic.'

- Corriere della Sera

The Temptation to be Happy is that very rare thing - a book that can make you both laugh and cry... Marone's undoubted skill [is] demonstrated in some beautiful lyrical passages.'

- TripFiction

‘Poignant...[with] moments of touching eccentricity.'

- bookoxygen

‘A wonderful novel about ageing - ironic and light-footed.'

- Italien Magazin

‘Packed with dark humour, the writer's embodiment of a near-octogenarian is an impressive feat.'

- Northern Echo

‘A charming tale.'

- Daily Telegraph

‘A toast to real happiness!' 

- La Stampa

‘A book that touches the heart...wonderfully honest, ingenious, quick and tragic.'

- Siegener Zeitung

‘This novel owes its success largely to Lorenzo Marone's wonderful character Cesare Annunziata, and to the funny and paradoxical fact that this is an excellent coming-of-age novel whose protagonist is over seventy years old.'

- Il Mattino

‘Comic, ironic, sarcastic descriptions that will make you smile but will also make you take a deep look at life in old age.'

- Wochenspiegel