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Literature / Where She Has Gone

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Where She Has Gone is a 1997 novel by Nino Ricci. It is the third and final installment in the Lives of the Saints trilogy.

Victor Innocente remeets his half-sister in Toronto, shortly after his father's death. Uneasy with their new proximity in each other's lives, they are at first restrained. But gradually what is unspoken between them comes closer to the surface, setting in motion a course of events that will take Victor back to Valle del Sole in Italy, where the story began. It is there, in the place he left twenty years earlier, that he confronts his past, its secrets and its revelations.


Book contains examples of:

  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Subverted. Even after Mario's death, the remaining Innocentes still living in Mersea are not quite happy, though family fights have greatly reduced now that Mario's attitude won't provoke one.
  • Attempted Suicide: Victor slits his wrists in the bathtub, which almost takes. He's discovered by a downstairs neighbour who immediately calls the police. Victor eventually wakes up in a hospital bed.
  • The Atoner: If John is in fact Rita's biological father, he certainly fits this trope big time. Even Victor surmises that John likely went through some trouble to insert himself into Rita's life so as to make for all the years he's abandoned her.
  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition: A figurative example. Rita throws a birthday party for herself which Elena, John and some other university friends attend to. Victor also shows up, but has a hard time feeling any content, because Rita's twentieth birthday also happens to mark twenty years since their mother Cristina's death.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: More of a Downer Ending, but nothing ouright tragic happens. Vittorio leaves Valle del Sole once again. John, despite hinting about being Rita's father., leaves Rita again. After his Bungled Suicide attempt, Victor returns to Africa, possibly forever, and because of the long distance, he and Rita eventually become emotionally separate, any brother-sister closeness they have built in the past two books having disappeared.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Victor has sex with Rita in a Headbutt of Love moment.
  • Jerkass: Vittorio's return to Valle del Sole instantly re-triggers the villagers to gossip about Cristina's affair. And when Rita shows up, they instantly recognize her as Cristina's affair baby, and the gossip gets a little worse. Downplayed, in which the gossip has little effect on the now-adult half-siblings, and therefore has little bearing to the plot.
  • Like Mother, Like Daughter: Vittorio points out Rita's strong resemblance to their mother, with the exception of her blue eyes. Lampshade by the Valle del Sole villagers, who also catch on to this resemblance, which lets them identify her as Cristina's affair baby.
  • Pet the Dog: A posthumuous example by Vittorio's father, Mario. In his will, one of his more flexible requests he makes to Vittorio is to use his inheritance to help Rita if she needs it. Despite the fact that Mario, while alive, has always seen Rita as nothing more than a crushing reminder of Cristina's betrayal, it's kind of heartwarming to see that he at least had some concern for her well-being before death.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Luisa, Vittorio's short-lived love interest while in Valle del Sole, was apparently present during the events of Lives of the Saints, but was never outright mentioned. Justifed, as she was a toddler in that time, and wouldn't have any bearing to the plot anyway.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Many of seven-year-old Vittorio's recollections in Lives of the Saints become this when he returns to the village twenty years later. For one, despite his claim that he escaped a fight with Alfredo's gang and abandoning Fabrizio out of anger, the now twenty-eight year-old Fabrizio tells him that he [Vittorio] actually stayed behind to fight off the gang together. And as for the lucky lira that Luciano had given him, well, according to an elderly Luciano, he never recalled giving it to Vittorio.