Tuesday, October 12, 2010

California dreaming

I'm going to California (for Bouchercon 2010); Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Salvo Montalbano is doing the dreaming, in The Track of Sand, twelfth of the Montalbano mysteries to be translated into English.

Dream scenes in movies are generally embarrassments; in books they're merely obvious. But Camilleri, who often opens his novels with Montalbano waking in the morning, shows here that he knows how to write a dream. Montalbano's dreams here feel like dreams. It helps that the crime sets the story in motion is full of material ripe for dreams: a horse, a beach, sand (as in the stuff you get bogged down running in...slower...slower...sinking deeper).

So the dream can have something to do with the mystery Montalbano is trying to solve without being clunkingly obvious about it.
***
Longtime readers of this charming series know that Camilleri likes to have Montalbano reading a mystery as he tries to relax. This time Montalbano thinks about Giorgio Scerbanenco; Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, the creators of Martin Beck; and that newcomer Henning Mankell. Here's my favorite example:

"He got into bed and started reading one of the Swedish books he had bought. Its protagonist was a colleague of his, Inspector Martin Beck, whose manner of investigation he found very appealing. When he had finished the novel and turned out the light, it was four o'clock in the morning."
Readers for whom the running gag of Montalbano's inability to finish reading a Simenon novel in The Smell of the Night will find that especially noteworthy. I find it touching, and it's hard to imagine a warmer author-to-author tribute.

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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13 Comments:

Anonymous kathy d. said...

What a great quote!

Now I must put this Montalbano on my TBR list.

Bloggers who can't go to San Francisco look forward to experiencing "Virtual Bouchercon."

October 12, 2010  
Blogger L.M. Quinn... said...

Ditto, kathy d.

October 12, 2010  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

Camilleri is very good. He also has good taste. :)

October 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, I think you'd like Montalbano. He's tough, but not violent, humane, human, conscientious, he has a short temper, and he loves good food.

October 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

L.M. and Kathy, reports on Bouchercon have been plentiful the past two years, and I see no reason this year should be any different. Keep your eye on this space.

October 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I.J., he has excellent taste. The references to authors in the Montalbano stories could form the basis of a reading list in Sicilian writing and crime fiction. And yes, Camillieri is very good. This latest book is one of the stronger entries in the series.

October 12, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I did read "August Heat," by Camillieri and I liked it and Montalbano's world view, too.

I will read more of the Montalbano books when I get a reprieve from my global reading challenge and my to be read pile and library reserves, whenever that is.

Yes, will check in here for "virtual Bouchercon," news and also Jen Forbus' blog and Sarah Weinman's Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, too.

October 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"August Heat" was a bit heavier on Camilleri's world view than it was on the plot of the mystery. This new book balances the two better, I think.

If you've already read books from Italy as part of your reading challenges, you could decide that Sicily is a separate region for reading purposes, and read more Camilleri.

October 12, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yes, I could read more Camilleri, except now I'm hooked on Gianrico Carofiglio and want to read some other Italian authors suggested by Petrona's website.

But, much later--am finishing Malla Nunn's second book, and have to go to Asia, then one more Latin America to go.

And then can go back to Italy and Scandinavia, where I want to read Nesbo, more Nesser, Siggurdadottir, Sjowall/Wahloo, and more, so I have a long way to go.

But we'll see what the library gets me and in what order.

October 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

What do you have lined up for Asia? And do you know this Web site: http://italian-mysteries.com/ ?

October 12, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yes, I know that website.

Asia: Well, there's Timothy Hallinan and Colin Cotterall. Also, RTR raised Charlotte Jay.

But I want to investigate further and see if there any off-the-beaten track authors or books.

I have read some Japanese women authors and may look there again.

This will be a research project.

October 12, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

There is also a page on the Global Reading Challenge which links to the books read by those involved in the challenge for each continent in the challenge.

The Asia page is filled with suggestions of books based in Japan, China, Thailand, India, Turkey, Pakistan, Laos, and other countries.

I'm going to research these ideas.

October 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, I.J. Parker, who commented above, writes a mystery series set in Heian-era (roughtly eighth through twelfth century) Japan. You mentioned Japanese women authors; the Heian period is one of the few great periods of culture whose best-known writers are women.

Cotterill and Hallinan are good, and you might look for books by one of my Bouchercon panelists, Christopher G. Moore, who writes a series set in Bangkok.

And these names will no doubt show up on Petrona's and other lists, but I'll throw in a plug for Seicho Matsumoto from Japan, and Qiu Xiaolong's novel "Death of a Red Heroine."

October 12, 2010  

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