Andrea Camilleri's latest
In The Patience of the Spider, the eighth Montalbano novel translated into English, Montalbano delves into the disappearance of a young woman and its effect on the political hopes of the man apparently responsible for her kidnapping.
Montalbano is moved to tears — he conceals them — by the presence of his lover, Livia, and stricken with pangs of tenderness and an odd sense of loneliness and relief when she leaves at the end of her stay. He is shocked by the news that a friend — a man his own age! — has become a grandfather. He is frightened to panic in the presence of a dying woman, yet cheered by the sharp mind of the missing young woman's boyfriend, who declares that he wants to be a police officer and, thinks Montalbano, would make a good one. And at all times, he reflects on his own reactions.
Camilleri's sympathy abounds for minor characters in difficult situations and even for the wife of the apparent kidnapper, after she is accosted and assaulted by a gang of respectable women angry at her husband's conduct.
The apparent kidnapper is a slick and ambitious engineer who benefits both from Italy's traditional political corruption and from the new varieties enabled by Silvio Berlusconi. (The explanatory notes by the translator, Stephen Sartarelli, are especially helpful here.) But corruption is not the devil. Think love, both thwarted and realized, revenge, and yearning hope for redemption, and you'll be closer to the tone of this moving novel.
I could be imagining this, but this translation seems to retain more Sicilian dialect and sayings than do previous volumes in the series. One example: "`Cu al sangu sò fa mali / mori mangiatu da li maiali,' or `He who harms his own flesh and blood / shall be eaten by pigs and die."
© Peter Rozovsky 2007
Italian crime fiction