A funny, sharp, wonderfully readable novel that takes us to the heart of an obsessive, unpredictable Italian family

Whether you’re new to Lost on Me or have read it and would like to explore it more deeply, here is our comprehensive guide, featuring insights from critics, our judges and the book’s author and translator, as well as discussion points and suggestions for further reading. 

Written by Emily Facoory

Publication date and time: Published


Vero has grown up in Rome with her eccentric family: an omnipresent mother who is devoted to her own anxiety, a father ruled by hygienic and architectural obsessions, and a precocious genius brother at the centre of all their attention. As she becomes an adult, Vero’s need to strike out on her own leads her into bizarre and comical situations. As she continues to plot escapades and her mother’s relentless tracking methods and guilt-tripping mastery thwart her at every turn, it is no wonder that Vero becomes a writer – and a liar – inventing stories in a bid for her own sanity.

The main characters

Verika (Vero)

Vero is the protagonist and narrator of the story, sharing her experiences growing up in 1980s Rome. Desperate to escape the confines of her family home and overbearing parents, Vero tries to break out, finding herself in some odd situations. A natural liar, she’s drawn to the fictional world of writing as the stories she tells often blur the lines between fantasy and reality. Bored and unfilled, Vero seeks to find her own independence and way into womanhood.

Vero’s brother

Considered to be a genius and overachiever who’s favoured by their mother, Vero’s brother also becomes a writer as well as becoming the culture councillor of Rome’s third municipal district.

Vero’s mother

An extremely anxious and neurotic woman, Vero’s mother exhibits excessively controlling behaviour towards her two children. Keeping them confined to their home and thinking the worst if they haven’t answered their phones, she’s an omnipresent figure in their lives.

Vero’s father

Health and hygiene obsessed with a fascination for architecture, Vero’s father is determined to fill their house with extra unnecessary walls and to keep them safe from illnesses by using odd remedies.

About the author

Veronica Raimo is an Italian writer, translator and screenwriter. She has a degree in Literature with a thesis on German cinema. After graduation, she lived in Berlin, working as a researcher at Humboldt University and then in the publishing industry as a translator from English for several publishing houses. She published her own novel Il dolore secondo Matteo in 2007. Then followed two more novels, stories published in magazines and anthologies and a collection of short stories published in Germany, Eines Tages alles dir. The Girl at the Door (2019) was her first novel to be translated into English.

In 2012 she co-wrote the film Bella addormentata (Sleeping Beauty) directed by Marco Bellocchio, receiving a 2013 Nastri d’argento (Silver Ribbon) nomination for best screenplay. Her articles and reviews have appeared in magazines and newspapers including Rolling Stone, la Repubblica XL and il manifesto. In 2022 she won both the Premio Strega Giovani Prize and the Viareggio Rèpaci Prize for her novel Niente di vero (Lost On Me). She lives in Rome.

Portrait of author Veronica Raimo

About the translator

Originally from Chicago, Leah Janeczko has lived in Milan since 1991. For over 25 years she’s been an Italian-to-English translator of fiction for all ages. Her recent translations include Glowrushes (Lo stralisco) by Roberto Piumini, who received the Rodari Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020 and has twice been nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award; At the Wolf’s Table / The Women at Hitler’s Table (Le assaggiatrici) by Rosella Postorino, winner of the 2018 Campiello Prize; and Lost on Me (Niente di Vero, shortlisted for the 2022 Premio Strega) by Veronica Raimo. She also writes English song lyrics for Italian bands.

Portrait of translator Leah Janeczko

What the critics said


‘Raimo weaves together a series of nonlinear vignettes with a deft hand, connecting seemingly disparate moments through themes of longing, loneliness, identity, and, perhaps most profoundly, the concept of memory itself.’

Marie Claire

‘This bittersweet work of autofiction charts Verika’s journey through her neurotic childhood to womanhood and her attempts - literal and metaphorical - to escape her family and their influence. Smart, funny … a sharply tender portrait of a young woman’s becoming.’


‘If you enjoy Deborah Levy or Natalia Ginzburg, then you’ll appreciate the writing of Italian author and translator, Veronica Raimo. Deeply original and with kudos from Naoise Dolan and Katherine Heiny, this bildungsroman follows Vero, a 15-year-old girl, writer and compulsive liar as she plots various bids for freedom, all of which are thwarted by her savvy mother. The film rights have been snapped up by Fandango, so look out for news of a future movie.’

Melissa Harrison, Guardian

Lost on Me does feel like a gleeful autofictional tarantella danced by truth and fiction, authenticity and disguise. Still, it feels somehow unsatisfying that Raimo seems almost always to be turned away from us: a silhouette slipping quietly out of the side door of a theatre even as her narrator holds court on stage.’

New European (UK)

‘Veronica Raimo has written a darkly funny novel of rhythm, subtlety and nuance, a challenge to its translator but one risen to here with remarkable aplomb. Leah Janeczko has taken a book pitched in a fuzzy area between autobiography and fiction, maintained its innate ambiguity and given English readers the opportunity to immerse themselves in a work by a writer who deserves as wide an audience as possible.’ 

What the International Booker Prize judges said:

‘A funny, sharp, wonderfully readable novel in which a fresh, playful voice takes us to the heart of an obsessive, unpredictable family. This engaging book tells the story of a young writer finding her special place where the ‘most fragile, tender, and comical parts’ of herself come dazzlingly to life in wild escapades and moments of unexpected reflection.’ 

Group photo of the International Booker Prize 2024 Judges; Romesh Gunesekera, Natalie Diaz, William Kentridge, Eleanor Wachtel and Aaron Robertson.

Questions and discussion points

Written in vignettes, Lost on Me contains a series of observations and stories from throughout Vero’s life instead of one continuous flowing story. Without a distinctive plot, does it make the book harder to follow and less impactful, or more powerful in other ways?

With overbearing and suffocating parents who limited Vero and her brother’s lives extensively growing up, what consequences do you think this behaviour had on Vero’s life as an adult?

Autofiction has become a popular genre, as more writers insert snippets of their own lives into their work. Described as being autofictional, Lost on Me bares a close resemblance to the author’s life. Without knowing the author personally, can you assume which events have been greatly exaggerated for a better story?

Numerous reviews have compared the book to the hit TV show Fleabag, with its witty, sarcastic writing and confessional nature. If you’ve watched the TV show, how might the two main characters’ personalities intersect and do they share any specific similar views of the world?

Overshadowed by her ‘genius’ brother, Vero claims that, ‘In terms of the distribution of roles, the fact that he’d nabbed that of family genius actually made my life a whole lot easier.’ Not having to prove anything unlike her brother, she said she didn’t envy him. Do you think this is true? What effects do you think having a genius brother would have had on Vero, even if she wasn’t aware of them?

Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag

If you enjoyed this book, why not try

The Girl at the Door by Veronica Raimo

Good Behaviour by Molly Keane

The Van by Roddy Doyle