Primo Verona, a professional magician and soothsayer, is born with a gift of clairvoyance so strong that he is able to predict his own mother's death while still in her womb.
He is brought up on a rich diet of astronomy, philosophy and storytelling by his watchmaker father and widowed aunt, both survivors of the death camps in Auschwitz. Primo accurately reads the futures of the local Long Street community of Italians and Jews, who pay him in wads of money, honey cake, tiramisu and other delicacies.
Pasquale Benvenuto, his close friend since childhood and fellow soldier in the Angolan war, is passionate and headstrong, his culinary reputation resting on the recipes for the fruited breads and salamis his father taught him to make – a love of which he acquired while hiding from the horrors of the Holocaust.
Together Primo and Pasquale form an easy friendship triangle with the beautiful Beatrice, Primo’s wife and Pasquale's former girlfriend, but when she leaves her husband for her old love, Primo is thrown into despair. He casts spells to spoil Pasquale’s creations and to win back Beatrice, but inadvertently conjures up an unexpected visitor.
A dazzling and evocative novel that mixes magical realism with the big themes – war, love, death, betrayal, and the afterlife.