Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hunting Season: Andrea Camilleri goes home

Even more than his Inspector Montalbano mysteries, Andrea Camilleri's Hunting Season is rooted in Sicily's soil.

The novel's central figure is a pharmacist, and the story takes place in a time (the 1880s) when that meant combing the forest for medicinal plants rather than combing insurance law for the license to dispense generic equivalents.

Nobles and those who work the land co-exist in this Sicily, and Camilleri has a touching eye for the strengths and absurdities of all.  The story is rooted in family secrets, and it's a lot bawdier than most mysteries.  Montalbano fans will be delighted to find that  not only does Camilleri set the novel in Montalbano's home town of Vigàta, but he even has a character curse the saints, as the splenetic Montalbano loves to do when he gets especially worked up.

The book comes with the kind of end notes from translator Stephen Sartarelli that are such informative additions to the Montalbano books, and with some remarks from Camilleri himself. I won't say more for fear of introducing spoilers, but suffice it to say that Camilleri loves his native island and its people, with all the weird, dark things they do.

© Peter Rozovsky 2014

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14 Comments:

Blogger RT said...

You've persuaded me. I will grab my copy and begin reading it. But there is something bittersweet about reading Camilleri novels: I hope the series will go on forever, but -- given the author's age -- I suspect there will not be too many more to read.

April 30, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to worry. There are least 27 non Montalbano works of fiction by Camilleri, best sellers in Italy, France and Germany that have yet to make it into English. And his latest is in the top 10 list reported on the ibs.it website and also on that of La Stampa's. The final Montalbano is reportedly held in the safe of his Italian publisher, Sellerio.

April 30, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

R.T., this book is a bit of a change for those of us who read Camilleri in English. I don't know if it's more typical of his other non-Montalbano writing that has not yet been translated.

As for Montalbano, the 17th novel will be out in English this spring, and I think four remain untranslated. And don't forget the forthcoming Montalbano short stories, to which Stephen Sartarelli alluded in my interview with him.

April 30, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Anonymous: I wonder if Hunting Season indicates that more of Camilleri's non-Montalbano writing will be translated into English.

I had read that Camilleri had written the final Montalbano book. I had not heard that Sellerio was preserving it in a safe. That's at least as well worth preserving as the secret formula for Coca-Cola, I'd say.

April 30, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to the Amazon.co.uk website, the Sartarelli translation, The Brewery of Preston will be out in December. This has more characters, more confusion more of everything than Hunting Season. Not only that, it's a "trick" book with stand alone chapters that can be read out of order. I look forward to Mr. Sartarelli's translation . . .no easy task. Also, according to ANSA, a new Montalbano is due out next month, but it isn't listed for pre-order yet.

And your interview with Mr. Sartarelli was delightful. Thank you for that.

April 30, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the kind words about the Sartarelli interview. Any interviewer would enjoy such a thoughtful, intelligent subject.

I have always been intrigued by the title Il birraio di Preston. Now I see there was an opera by the same name in the nineteenth century.

The English translation of Il sorriso di Angelica is due in the U.S. soon I suspect that's the one you mean.

April 30, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It sounds, too, as if "The Brewery of Preston" may show English-language readers yet another side of Camilleri we may not have suspected, perhaps a bit more like his distant relative Pirandello.

April 30, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, this new Montalbano book is to be published by Sellerio in May in Italian but no title was listed. Perhaps this will be introduced at the Torino book fair.

April 30, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Fourth attempt to get this to post:

Thanks. I'll do some research and try to track the title down.


April 30, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The new Montalbano from Sellerio has been posted on ibs.it for release May 29th. The title is "La piramide di fango"

Sounds fun!!!

May 06, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It's an entertaining title. I shall investigate further when I have a few minutes. Thanks.

May 06, 2014  
Blogger Unknown said...

Just finished this book and I'm confused. At the end of the book, Ucello is surprised by Ntonto's abrupt transition from childish regression into adulthood again. At that moment he has an insight which will stay with him for life.

Does anyone know what this means.

June 28, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ntonto's regression was a bit unsettling and puzzling, yes.

June 29, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I wondered if it might be a reference to some theme or incident from Sicilian literature or folk tales.

June 29, 2014  

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