Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Italian Job

A long time ago - it must be at least nine years, given that that is how long we have been in Canberra - Gideon recommended to me the Aurelio Zen series of crime novels by Michael Dibdin. It is a recommendation I have picked up and run with. My summer reading this year included, or, more accurately, was, "Back To Bologna", the second-last of them (the final one had been completed, but not published, before his death, last year, at the age of 60, and I look forward to reading it anon).

Dibdin started doing funny things with genre a few books ago. "And Then You Die", for example, was Beckett's "Waiting For Godot" in the guise of a crime story. Likewise, "Back To Bologna" is more Keystone Cops than police procedural, a farce masquerading as a whodunnit, with a dose of tricky post-structuralism thrown in, thanks to the appearance of a thinly disguised Umberto Eco character, who gets it in the end (literally). Not unexpectedly enjoyable, but unexpectedly a hoot.