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Cecilia and Claudio are doctors at the same hospital. They eat lunch together, sharing conversation and confidences. Each is recovering from a relationship that has ended but is not yet over: she is a vulnerable young woman with a complicated family situation and two small children; he continues to live in the same building with his senile mother and his ex-wife and her new family. Though they are drawn together magnetically, life has taught them to treat that attraction with suspicion. But a chance encounter with Cecilia's sister, Silvia, shifts the precarious balance of the relationship between the two doctors. Claudio begins to see the difficulties inherent in his approach toward life-his weary "Why not?," rather than indicating a hunger for life and experiences, is simply a default setting; saying no would require an energy and focus he lacks. And just when Cecilia comes to the realization that she loves Claudio and is ready to commit to a genuine relationship, fate steps in once again. In lucid, melancholy prose, elegantly rendered into English by Anne Milano Appel, Andrea Canobbio sketches a fable of love poisoned by indecision and ambivalence in Three Light-Years, laying bare the dangers of playing it safe when it comes to matters of the heart. - For readers of Elena Ferrante and Anthony Doerr
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