Friday, March 09, 2007

Romance and violence

Where music, poetry, memories and the Mediterranean go, romance is sure to follow. That was true in Total Chaos, the first novel in Jean-Claude Izzo's Marseilles trilogy, and it's even more the case in Chourmo, the second book.

Just six short chapters in, the protagonist, Fabio Montale, has yearned for lost loves, lost friends, lost opportunities, even for the tolerable aspects of his lost job as a police officer. These chapters are melancholy and gorgeous and full also of Izzo's sharp and sometimes unexpected political observations. The melancholy is enhanced by the reader's knowledge that the lost cousin whom Montale searches for has already been killed.

If you read French or Italian, Ile noire, Jazz al Nero and Andrea Fannini offer interesting discussions of Izzo. That last entry, a discussion of a book of Izzo's short writing called Aglio, menta e basilico – Marsiglia, il noir e il Mediterraneo, offers insight on the social and political concerns of Fabio Montale and the man who created him. And culinary concerns, too. The first part of the book's title means "garlic, mint and basil." Fabio Montale may be more melancholy in outlook than Andrea Camilleri's Salvo Montalbano or Manuel Vázquez Montalbán's Pepe Carvalho, but he eats just as well.

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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Blogger sauron said...

Di Izzo è anche molto bello
Le soleil des mourants.
Esiste la traduzione in inglese?

March 10, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Non lo so. Non avevo conosciuto questo libro.

March 10, 2007  
Anonymous andrea said...

Hello Peter, now only Solea can finish this beautiful and also dramatic trilogy. Izzo is a fantastic writer!

March 12, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Have you read Solea yet, Andrea? The English translation will be published in June, and I'm afraid my French is not good enough for me to read it in the original.

March 12, 2007  
Anonymous andrea said...

Yes, I have read Solea and others books too, like Marinai perduti e Il sole dei morenti.

March 13, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

I know only the first two books of the Marseilles trilogy. I also want to read Aglio, menta e basilico, thanks to the article you posted on your blog. I don't know anything about Izzo's other books. What can you tell me about them? I don't think you've written about them, have you?

March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Blueowl said...

Hi Peter, I’ve enjoyed reading your post on Chourmo. Great book.
I have read also your other posts on Nesser,
an author that is also translated into Dutch. I have posted a short bio:

March 24, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Thanks for your note, blueowl. I am now waiting for Solea, which has been translated into English and will be published in April.

I looked at your Nesser bio. Dutch readers are more fortunate than English ones. Only two of the Van Veeteren books have been translated into English. And it must be interesting for Dutch readers to read all the almost-Dutch names in Nesser's books.

March 24, 2007  
Blogger Vince said...

Posts on Garry Disher's Wyatt novels and Izzo's divine Marseilles trilogy? Not to mention kind words for Nesser's Borkmann's Point, which is waiting in my to-be-read pile? I should've been hanging out here ages ago. Thanks for the invite.

March 30, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Thanks for the kind words, Vince. It is a pleasure to find a reader of such taste and discernment!

I suggest you move Borkmann's Point to the top of your to-read pile along with Nesser's The Return, if you haven't read it already. Disher's Port Vila Blues is near the top of my to-read list, and I eagerly await the English translation of Solea, which has a June 1 publication date, if I remember correctly.

March 30, 2007  

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