Monday, November 15, 2010

Bandit Love, by Massimo Carlotto

The most recent of Massimo Carlotto's Marco "Alligator" Buratti novels to be translated (and a much more recent novel than the other two already translated), Bandit Love (translated by Antony Shugaar) plays out almost as a picaresque. The plot, based in Padua but going quite far afield, twists and turns without ever reaching a pat conclusion.

In this book, Buratti and his two friends/collaborators leave behind the bar and the private (unlicensed) detective business that they have been operating. Rossini, the gangster of the trio, discovers that his girlfriend, Sylvie, has been kidnapped, and as the team looks for her they realize that the crime relates to an event in their past, when they murdered a man who had been trying to involve them in investigating a theft of drugs from the police lockup. Their frantic search for Sylvie

There's much discussion of changes in Italy, with regard to the new and old mafias, the economic crash, and the loss of a local culture in the northeast, giving the whole book a melancholy (as well as noir) character. There are also various version of the love and loyalty between outlaws and their female partners, though Buratti himself has (mostly) lost his own love, Virna.

Like most of the books published by Europa Editions, Bandit Love is short, compact, and tightly packed with characters and incidents. [warning: partial spoiler ahead] Just when you think that the book is about to achieve a violent, final act of retribution, it veers off into an indeterminate future—possibly a sequel or possibly an end to the series that carries it forward into its own mythical future.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've just finished reading the novel in only a few hours. I've previously enjoyed the Columbian Mule, Master of Knots, Goodbye Kiss; Carlotto is one of my very favourite writers of fiction. This is a great book, up to the usual standard. Highly recommended!