Los sorrentinos
Virginia Higa

NOVEL | 2018 | 152 pages

Just over a century ago, a family left Sorrento and settled in Mar de Plata, Argentina, to open a trattoria, close to the beach. They might have been like any other family that emigrated to Argentina in those years, however this family in particular, the Vespolini, contributed to Argentine culture in a unique way: They invented the sorrentinos, a type of pasta that, to this day, is widely eaten and enjoyed across country.The trattoria passed on from parents to children, and from the older brother to the youngest; Chinche—a man who loved the movies, porcelains and good conversation; someone for whom bad taste was an unforgivable offense and whose wittiness had the power of transforming any ordinary situation into an anecdote to be told for years to come. Virginia Higa collects the pieces of a family history and writes a novel about an unforgettable character, as well as the men and women of apparent simplicity who star in their own stories of eternal love and profound solitude, deaths, betrayals and songs. As in the best of comedies—Italian ones, especially—in Los sorrentinos aren’t always what they seem: you can’t always tell the difference between laughter and tears, between the destiny of a family and that of an entire country, between a life well-lived and the most fortunate of inheritances. 


A light, precise, tender, delicate and luminous story about how the sorrentinos were invented and about the family who invented them. And at the heart of this story: Chiche, a unique character, full of edges, one of those characters that we will remember forever.
— Federico Falco
Los sorrentinos is the debut novel by one of the most subtle and moving voices that I have read in a long time. Virginia Higa knows how to see the beauty in the details and how to draw the arc of a life with a handful of anecdotes.
— Vera Giaconi
With a charming and melancholy prose, Higa takes us, as if in a documentary whose chapters are like comic strips, through the back alleys of a family novel. Her off camera commentary narrates in a warm, smiling and musical voice while the images are projected and the story moves along through anecdotes starring the members of Chiche’s family, the trattoria’s alma mater, as well as his four older siblings… Virginia Higa’s novel can be read with the fluidity of a Neapolitan film comedy. And while the novel might seem as light as the sorrentinos’ dough, an attentive reader will find, if he or she is so inclined, a denser layer at its core, which is what gives it its particular consistency.
— Virginia Cosin, Clarín
Virginia Higa writes a beautiful debut novel whose strength lies in the wittiness of its characters and that moves through scenes, as if we were watching a movie about the lives of its characters… Los sorrentinos is a novel in which the intimate becomes universal—a story that reconciles us with the idea of a “clan,” understood as a society made of affections, absences and kinships that reinvent themselves with every new generation. Who doesn’t have a family member worthy of becoming a the protagonist of a novel? Virginia Higa’s merit is to have found Chiche Vespolini a voice and a destiny for him, and to have found a way to tell us, through him, many other things in which we will recognize ourselves.
— Malena Rey, Los Inrokuptibles
Of Virigina Higa, a huge cinema buff, one can say that she is the Buster Keaton of storytelling: minimal gestures, an impassive mask (in her case, a sober and minimalistic style) that come together to paint the wildest of scenes. She avoids all stylistic excess and she is right to do so because her subject matter is already so excessive in every way: there is an abundance of food, passion, laughter, sorrow, drama and involuntarily hilarious scenes.
— Verónica Chiaraballi, La Nación