Thursday, June 07, 2012

Win Andrea Camilleri's latest (and give yourself one less reason to curse the saints)

Two sentences into The Age of Doubt, fourteenth of Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano mysteries and newly available in English, and Salvo is already cursing the saints:
"He had just fallen asleep after a night worse than almost any other in his life, when a thunderclap as loud as a cannon blast fired two inches from his ear startled him awake. He sat up with a jolt, cursing the saints."
That has long been Salvo's favorite expression of disgust as well as one of mine, and its occurrence this early bodes well for the book. Thanks to the people of Penguin, one lucky U.S. reader can win a copy of The Age of Doubt and curse the saints along with Salvo. All that reader has to do is answer the following question correctly:

What is Salvo's favorite restaurant? (Hint: The restaurant is named for a saint.)

***
While you're scratching your head and cursing the saints, why not weigh in on your favorite invective in crime fiction, read my review of Camilleri's previous Montalbano book, or get hold of Following the Detectives: Real Locations in Crime Fiction, which includes an essay about Camilleri by your humble blogkeeper?
***
We have a winner! Fred in Ohio knew that Salvo's favorite restaurant is the Trattoria San Calogero. He wins a copy of The Age of Doubt, just in time for several festivals of San Calogero in Sicily over the next few weeks. Felicitazióni e buon appetito. 

© Peter Rozovsky 2012

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30 Comments:

Blogger seana said...

I'm going to pass, as I still haven't gotten to Camarelli, but I have to say that Penguin has done beautiful, enticing covers for these books.

Maybe I'll make it a summer goal to read at least one.

June 07, 2012  
Blogger seana said...

Camilleri. I always get this one wrong.

June 07, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, Camilleri has been served well by the covers of his English-language editions. The UK covers have been enticing, and the American ones even better. Both make judicious use of pastel colors.

I used to call Camilleri Camillieri, and the Montreal Canadiens hockey team used to have a player named Mike Cammalleri. Your spelling only adds to the lexicon of nomenclatural confusion or if you prefer, it offers one more way to get the name mixed up.

June 08, 2012  
Blogger seana said...

I just looked it up, and, not surprisingly, it does mean "Camel driver"

June 08, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Hmm, I wonder if Camilleri's distant ancestors made the short hop from North Africa to Sicily.

June 08, 2012  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

No one can read just one, Seana. (-:

June 08, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, Philip may be right. In fact, even though I could not recall your having discussed any of the Camilleri novels, I was mildly surprised to learn that you had read none. I always assumed the series might be up your street.

June 08, 2012  
Anonymous solo said...

Two sentences into The Age of Doubt, fourteenth of Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano mysteries and newly available in English, and Salvo is already cursing the saints

I was curious about this phrase 'cursing the saints'. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any Camilleri in Italian, but looking at different translations of Il ladro di merendine I was surprised at how differently they handled this paticular phrase:

Cursing the saints, he got up
se levanto, soltando maldiciones
Fluchend stand er auf

In the German and Spanish versions the cursing is still there but the saints have disappeared. Isn't it odd that a German or a Spanish reader wouldn't have a clue what you are talking about when you mention Montalbano's favourite curse?

June 08, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Funny you should mention that. I found myself wondering after I put up this post how the original versions read. Does Montalbano perhaps curse a string of saints whose names would mean nothing much to readers in English?

Someone sent me Il ladro di merendine in the original version. I should dig out it and the English translation to carry out the sort of comparison you did. In the meantime, I await a flood of puzzled inquiries frpm Spanish, German, and Italian readers.

June 08, 2012  
Blogger seana said...

Philip, that's an enticement, not an obstacle. Thanks.

June 08, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The books make a nice summer's reading. Or winter's reading. Or fall, spring, vacation, or late-night reading, unless you happen to be reading them during the morning, evening, or afternoon.

June 08, 2012  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Seana, treat yourself.

I kept hearing about Salvo Montalbano from a friend and reading about the series on blogs and wondered what the hoopla was about.

Then I took the plunge and read August Heat, as it was in contention for the International Dagger.

And it's true. I couldn't read just one. I was hooked. I've read 10 books, with four to go, and there are another four or five still to be translated and published in English.

And I'm lamenting the end of the series, even though I have about 8 or 9 books still to read. But it's about Camilleri being 86 and wondering how many more books he can write.

To pick up a Montalbano book and start reading and not stop until one is finished is a real treat.

When I think of taking a virtual vacation, Vigata, Sicily, is the first place I think of -- the beach, the wine, the gourmet meals, in the company of the inspector and his eccentric team.

June 09, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And "August Heat" was one of the lesser entries in the series, to my mind.

This may cheer you up regarding the end of the series: though Camilleri will turn 87 this year, and though he has said he had already written the final books in the series, I learned this week that he reserved the right to further Montalbano books if the mood struck him. The book just published in Italian is, apparently, one such.

June 09, 2012  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

I found myself wondering after I put up this post how the original versions read. Does Montalbano perhaps curse a string of saints whose names would mean nothing much to readers in English?

Did you find out, Peter? If not, I'll rummage around and look for my copy of L'età del dubbio.

In the meantime, as I recall, I think you may be right; that is, he curses a couple of individually named saints.

PS San Calogero (a black North African) is one of the patron saints of Agrigento (the other is San Gerlando). And Calogero is a popular name in S. Sicily.

June 13, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

No, I haven't found out. But you might be a good source for what Camilleri says in Italian/Sicialian where Sartarelli has Salvo cursing the saints.

I found out a bit about San Calogero from a few searches as I prepared this post. I think he's a patron saint of more than one town in southern Italy. At least two hold festivals in his name.

June 14, 2012  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Yes, San Calogero is a popular saint in Sicily. I only mention Agrigento (Montelusa) because of its close connection to Camilleri

June 14, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I saw a reference to S. Calogero's being the patron saint of a town in Calabria as well. I'll have to visit Agrigento both because it's Montalbano country and also because of some old buildings or other.

June 14, 2012  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Ha! I love the scene in The Track of Sand when Montalbano and Fazio, with time to kill, go visit the temples, getting in and out of the car each time to look at them until Montalbano gets "fed up with archaeology." The entire passage is riot.

June 14, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I don't remember that scene. I shall have to look for it!

June 14, 2012  
Anonymous Stephen Sartarelli said...

Hello Peter and readers, good day to all. I am always anxious to read this blog when a new Montalbano title comes out, and I'm checking in presently to dispel the suspense surrounding the expression "to curse the saints," which Montalbano does so often as he goes about his business in the face of life's many obstacles.

You probably all know that Camilleri usually writes not in "proper" Italian, but in a highly original blend of Agrigentian Sicilian and contemporary Italian vernacular. The Sicilian verb I (usually) translate as "to curse the saints" is "santiare," which, according to the Master himself, means "to get upset at the saints" ("prendersela coi santi" in his words). While I myself sometimes, for the sake of variation, also translate the term simply as "to curse," I dare say the other translators (Spanish, German, etc.)who regularly render the term simply as "to curse" are not using their imaginations to the fullest extent. My coinage of the expression to "curse the saints" even allowed me once, at a particularly frustrating moment for our beloved inspector, to write that he "cursed all the saints in heaven." I don't quite remember whether or not this rendering was spurred by some variation in the expression in the original, but I can check, if I can only find where I wrote it that way. It may have been in The Potter's Field, as I remember that it was fairly recent.

At any rate I, as a translator, have always taken to heart the injunction made by Pouchkine where he said (I forget where) that the translator must create "new space" in the language into which he translates, since each language has many spaces peculiar only to it. Thus my "cursing the saints."

June 22, 2012  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Stephen Sartarelli is an excellent translator and writer of informational and humorous end notes.

I so look forward to reading those end notes and have to try not to look ahead of myself as I'm reading.

And I did cave in and purchase The Age of Doubt, as the library will take forever to get it in stock -- and that's just too long to wait for Montalbano.

June 23, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Stephen, I would hope that no would render santiare as, simply, to curse.

Pouchkine (more familiar, perhaps, to readers of English, as Pushkin?) was right. Or maybe translators try to create similar semantic space through the different syntactic and lexical tools their languages afford them.

William the Silent is, in his own language of Dutch, Willem de Zwijger, zwigjer being an agent-noun form of the Dutch verb zwijgen, to shut up or to be silent. English, lacking the equivalent of such a verb, does what it can and comes up with William the Silent.

June 23, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, I have thought from time to time that The Collected End Notes of Stephen Sartarelli would make an informative and entertaning volume.

June 23, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Congratulations, Stephen, on winning the International Dagger for The Potter's Field.

July 05, 2012  
Blogger seana graham said...

I'll join in and say excellent on the great news.

July 05, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Sartelli

I have long regretted that English only readers do not have access to the other works of Mr. Camilleri that are NOT Montalbano. Many of these books appear in German, French and Spanish but, alas, not in English. I see on the Amazon.uk site that "Hunting Season" is scheduled for publication in 2013. Will you be translating others of his Not Montalbano works? I hope so. With the help of a Sicilian friend and the Il Camilleri-linguaggio published by il Giornale di Sicilia, I've been able to read his books . . .and wishwishwish all English only readers could do the same.

July 07, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And please forgive me for misspelling your name Mr. Sartarelli

July 09, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You're forgiven. I've misspelled Camilleri's name a time or two myself.

July 09, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The delightful La Scomparso di Pato, (The Vanishing of Pato) an early Camilleri, is out in DVD from MHz and Amazon.com. It's a complete joy!!! The subtitles are easy to read and the production is first class.

July 10, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Many thanks. Camilleri readers have to be curious about his non-Montalbano books. And I think La Scomparso di Pato is the Camilleri novel that Camilleri has Salvo read in The Potter's Field.

July 10, 2012  

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