Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Michael Dibdin is dead at 60

Through the Rap Sheet comes the sad news that Michael Dibdin, author of the Aurelio Zen crime novels, has died at age 60. The item links to an obituary from the Telegraph that offers interesting insights into Dibdin, that cleverest of crime authors. A biographical note here includes a bibliography.

Here is what I wrote about Dibdin, Zen and the novel Cosi Fan Tutti in my first post on this blog (Cosi Fan Tutti is almost surely the only crime-novel version of a Mozart opera that you will ever read) :

3) Cosi Fan Tutti, by Michael Dibdin, is an exception to my general distaste for novels set in "foreign" countries by writers not from those countries. Such books often degenerate into travelogues. This novel is formally daring, and talk about surprise endings! Dibdin, an Englishman, spent several years teaching in Italy, and his charmingly named protagonist, Aurelio Zen, offers a kind of Baedeker's guide to official Italian corruption and internecine rivalry, each novel set in a different region: Naples here, the Vatican, Venice, the south in other books. And Rome. Always Rome. "Zen" is a name characteristic of the protagonist's native Venice, but it also has overtones of the detachment with which this Zen moves through the sometimes deadly worlds of Italian officialdom and gangsterdom. Of course, the character's other name, Aurelio, is another clue that he is wise and given to occasional musing, if not outright meditation.

Aurelio is the Italian form of Aurelius, as in Marcus Aurelius, that most philosophical Roman emperor.

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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