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Rounding the Mark

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rounding the Mark (2003/2006) Andrea Camilleri translated by Stephen Sartarelli

It finally happened. The corruption of the Italian government and system has finally gotten to Montalbano, and he has decided he no longer wants to work in such a system. But his morning swim changes everything, when he (literally) runs into a corpse.

The first thing he saw was himself, stark naked, wild-eyed, mouth agae, hands cupped over his pudenda, looking like a chaste Susannah getting on in years, and a whole lot harrier. A caption under the image said:

“Inspector Montalbano (in the photo) saving a dead man.”

This is the book where we start to see Montalbano really thinking about his age and getting older. The Comissioner, who thinks he’s involved with the Mafioso doesn’t help, but it’s the corruption from the top down that has really gotten to him here.

Plus, one of the most horrible things to happen since it moved back to Vitaga happened–Trattoria Sa Calogero has closed.

You shitting me, Calo?”

“No, Inspector. As you know, I’ve had two bypasses and am seventy-three years old and counting. Doctor don’t want me to work anymore.”

“And what about me?” Montalbano had blurted out.

There’s truly no reason for Montalbano to go to work.

This is one of the books where the differences between the US and Italy reminds me how lucky I am to live where I do.

“Oh, Chief! I almost forgot. They also wrote ‘goddam cuckolds.”

Imagine ever find any obscene graffiti in Sicily without the world ‘cuckold” in it. The word was a guarantee of authenticity, a classic expression of so-called Sicilitude.

As you see, we still have Catarella, as well as Fazio, “Either youput that piece of paper back in your pocket, or I’m going to start kicking you.” But we finally see why everyone puts up with Catarella:

“(Y)ou’ve never understood just who Catarella is,” said the inspector.

“I guess now. Who is he?”

“Catarella’s a little kid, a child inside a grown man’s body. And so he reasons like someone barely seven years old.”

“So?”

“What I mean is that Catarella has the kinds of fantasies, brainstorms, and bright ideas a little kid does. And being a little kid, he says what he’s thinking, he doesn’t hold back. And often he’s right on the mark. Because reality, when seen through our eyes, is one thing, but when seen through a child’s eyes, it’s something else.”

One thing I especially like about Montalbano is that despite the fact he can be a complete asshole, he has a complete soft-spot for kids. Unfortunately, in this case, that doesn’t work to his advantage.
Rating: 7/10

Published by Penguin

Categories: Mystery, Police, Translated     Comments (0)    



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