The latest addition to my website is Marco Mancassola‘s Gli amici del deserto [The Friends of the Desert]. This tells the story of two best friends who venture out into the Arizona desert to find a shaman/healer to help them with their problems. The unnamed narrator has lost his job, in the Italian economic crisis, and lost his girlfriend of thirteen years. She was a drug addict and, despite, several attempts, had not been cured. However, when the pair split up, she seems to be able get cured and find a new and happy relationship and is about to get married. Danilo is a depressive and heavily dependent on drugs. His relationship has also broken up. Our hero goes to a monastery in Big Sur, primarily, to rethink his life and is joined by Danilo before the pair set out for Arizona, looking for the shaman. They have one or two adventures on the way, before finding the shaman. The book is fairly shallow but gives an interesting account of how modern Italians and think and feel, particularly in the light of the economic crisis in that country.