The Paper Moon, or Salvo Montalbano, vulnerable detective
Last week, I was pleased to note than an Italian blogger had made a similar observation apropos of that novel and of Camilleri's most recently translated Montalbano book, The Paper Moon, back when the latter was published in its original language in 2005.
With the aid once again of my scraps of Italian and a moderately trusty translation program, I translated part the discussion as follows:
"Which Montalbano do we find in this book? A man whom Camilleri is aging gradually, book after book, making him more reflective, as in The Patience of the Spider."The writer notes Montalbano's worries about aging in the new book, in particular his realizing with alarm that his memory is not what it once was. It is significant, though, that the resourceful Montalbano deals with the problem by taking notes and writing himself letters. This is of a piece with narrative devices from earlier novels, such as his mentally casting a difficult case in the form of a script in order better organize his thoughts, but it also shows more of the touching vulnerability I found in The Patience of the Spider.
The new book takes Montalbano up against Italian political corruption, of course. But, as is characteristic of the series, love, obsession and other human perversities are the real occasions of the inspector's wonderment. Once again, he is vulnerable and crotchety at the same time, which is somehow especially touching and makes him more believable than if he'd been one or the other rather than both.
What other detectives are vulnerable without tumbling into cliché?
© Peter Rozovsky 2008
Italian crime fiction