The Wrong Ones of Dubai
A year has passed. A year since the death of Flavio. An overdose.
On the morning of that tragic anniversary, Diego, his brother, just can’t bring himself to enter the classroom and decides to leave on an adventure. And he won’t be alone. Game, Valentino, Vic, Leti, Sestina, Sballo and Maya will accompany him wherever he wants to go and in whatever he wants to do. They will travel from the city outskirts to the sea, experiencing unknown locations and unexpected events. Barely more than strangers when they set out, they will return as friends. That day, all of a sudden, becomes THE day. The day in which Friendship with a capital F develops, the day in which the youngsters recognise themselves in each other’s solitude, which dissolves in the knowledge that they are no longer alone or “wrong”.
The novel’s clear, pared-down plot is still capable of juggling multiple threads, and in it move the bodies and voices of eight youngsters. Their eight personalities are different, sensitive and isolated, and each in their different way “in flight” from something. The connection unleashed by a single day will turn out to be so deep and powerful that it will reconcile them all to their own personal histories, which make them who they are. In a reflection of our own humanity and universality, and as in all her books on social themes, the writing of Daniela Palumbo is imbued with intensity, emotion and Truth. The Wrong People of Dubai is no exception. The themes she deals with are complex (discrimination, stigma, addiction, the outskirts of cities), and yet the author successfully puts herself in the shoes of not only one character, but all eight, penetrating into the fragilities of each one to make them universal, with the direct and powerful style which is her hallmark.
The book is a hymn to union, brotherhood, and acceptance and sympathy for others’ suffering – because it is our suffering too.
And there is one small curiosity to note. The chapter titles are inspired by the writing on the city walls, which encapsulates – just like “the wrong ones” – all the wisdom and cruelty of the streets.
Gli sbagliati del Dubai
di Daniela Palumbo
Il Castoro, 2022