That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana
By: Carlo Emilio Gadda
In a large apartment house in central Rome, two crimes are committed within a matter of days: a burglary, in which a good deal of money and precious jewels are taken, and a murder, as a young woman whose husband is out of town is found with her throat cut. Called in to investigate, melancholy Detective Ciccio, a secret admirer of the murdered woman and a friend of her husband’s, discovers that almost everyone in the apartment building is somehow involved in the case, and with each new development the mystery only deepens and broadens. Gadda’s sublimely different detective story presents a scathing picture of fascist Italy while tracking the elusiveness of the truth, the impossibility of proof, and the infinite complexity of the workings of fate, showing how they come into conflict with the demands of justice and love.
I had been eyeing this book for a good number of years now after coming across it during one of my endless forays into the bookstore. I finally got it as a birthday gift last month and decided to read it to get me in the mood for my NaNoWriMo. Although not listed in my list, this book is also part of the I Love Italy Reading Challenge I signed up for earlier this year.
The Three Musketeers
By: Alexandre Dumas
This swashbuckling epic chronicles the adventures of d’Artagnan, a brash young man from the countryside who journeys to Paris in 1625 hoping to become a musketeer and guard to King Louis XIII. Before long he finds treachery and court intrigue-and also three boon companions: the daring swordsmen Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Together they strive heroically to defend the honor of their queen against the powerful Cardinal Richelieu and the seductive spy Milady.
The Three Musketeers is one of those novels that I always knew of (the gist of the plot, the main characters) but never got around to reading. My brother read the book about a year or two ago and kept insisting ever since that I should read it. Well, I finally got around to reading it (yay)!
The Day of the Owl
By: Leonardo Sciascia
A man is shot dead as he runs to catch the bus in the piazza of a small Sicilian town. Captain Bellodi, the detective on the case, is new to his job and determined to prove himself. Bellodi suspects the Mafia, and his suspicions grow when he finds himself up against an apparently unbreachable wall of silence. A surprise turn puts him on the track of a series of nasty crimes. But all the while Bellodi’s investigation is being carefully monitored by a host of observers, near and far. They share a single concern: to keep the truth from coming out.
The Day of the Owl is one of three books I received on my birthday. I had been eyeing it for some time (well, eyeing many books from the New York Review Books list really) and given that some of the themes present in this novel are themes that I will be focusing on for this year’s NaNoWriMo, I had to check it out. This book is also part of the I Love Italy Reading Challenge I signed up for earlier this year.
The Ice Princess
By: Camilla Läckberg
Returning to her hometown after the funeral of her parents, writer Erica Falck finds a community on the brink of tragedy. The death of her childhood friend, Alex, is just the beginning. Her wrists slashed, her body frozen in an ice cold bath, it seems that she has taken her own life.
Erica conceives a memoir about the beautiful but remote Alex, one that will answer questions about their lost friendship. While her interest grows to an obsession, local detective Patrik Hedstrom is following his own suspicions about the case. But it is only when they start working together that the truth begins to emerge about the small town with a deeply disturbing past.
I was in the mood for something different especially after reading a few hefty novels recently and working on two articles. I forgot how I came across this novel, I think it was during one of my many wanderings over at GoodReads.
By: Carmen Laforet
Eighteen-year-old Andrea moves to Barcelona to stay with relatives she has not seen in years while she pursues her dream of studying at university. Arriving in the dead of night she discovers not the independence she craves, but a crumbling apartment and an eccentric collection of misfits whose psychological ruin and violent behaviour echoes that of the recent civil war.
As the tension between the family members grows in claustrophobic intensity, Andrea finds comfort in a friendship with Ena, a girl from university whose gilded life only serves to highlight the squalor of Andrea’s own experiences. But what is the secret of the relationship between Ena and Andrea’s predatory uncle, Roman, and what future can lie ahead for Andrea in such a bizarre and disturbing world?
I’ve been looking forward to reading this book ever since I got my hands on it. As I mentioned in my Book Beginnings on Friday meme, I discovered it when the Book Depository featured Spain during its “12 Countries in 12 Days” special. Contains major spoilers ahead!