Saturday 4 October 2014

The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

Last w/e I struggled to get through A Wrinkle in Time (see previous post). As a result I was looking for something light and easy and likable to go to next.

I stumbled upon Karen at Booker Talk's post about Inspector Montalbano and knew straight away that I had my next book sorted.

I've had The Shape of Water on my TBR pile for a couple of years now. The English translation of book #17 was recently published (Angelica's Smile) which only increased my curiosity to see what all the buzz was about.

The Shape of Water is the first book in the Inspector Montalbano Mystery series. It was first written in 1994 (in a mixture of Italian & Sicilian), but not translated into English until 2002 by Stephen Sartarelli.

Sararelli has included a few pages of notes at the back to explain some of the translation issues.

As a starting point, there was enough to keep me keen to try a second book...but only just.

The story was formulaic and a little stilted. Nonetheless, Montalbano is very likable - a good guy battling the corruption and seedy underbelly of Sicilian society.

His love of food is present from the start & a reference to di Lampedusa's The Leopard (another Sicilian story full of food fetishes) endeared me to the series as well.

Although we are dealing with death and mafia crimes, this book could be classified as gentle crime. There are no gory bodily descriptions, no ghastly autopsy reports, no violent outrages discussed in minute detail. A few swear words and sexual references are about as nasty as things get.

My kind of crime story!

I have now found the youtube link to watch the series with Mr Books.
I can feel a trip to Sicily coming on!!


  1. I only know a little bit about translation and but it can be so interesting a topic.

    As I usually do a little research when I read a classic that has multiple translations available I have learned just how much of an art it is.

    This book does sound entertaining.

  2. I don't know that I've heard of this series, or author, before. I'm not sure that'd be my thing, but it is nice to look forward to light and easy.


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