Bitter Lemon Press, £8.99 Order at a discount from the Independent Bookshop
Book review: The Silence of the Wave, By Gianrico Carofiglio, trans. Howard Curtis
A former anti-gang prosecutor takes his crime fiction down into an even darker place
Friday 04 October 2013
Whereas most crime writers rarely do anything more dangerous than sallying forth for cocoa, lawyer-turned-novelist Gianrico Carofiglio is one of that brave band of prosecutors who have been facing down some of the most dangerous criminals in Europe.
Get this book at the discounted rate of £8.54 from the Independent Bookshop or call 0843 0600 030
Formerly a prosecutor in the Adriatic city of Bari, he became adviser to the Italian parliament's anti-Mafia committee. Previous novels have featured his series investigator Guido Guerrieri, advocate in Bari, and explored not only criminality but its effect on those who pursue it. We left Guerrieri on a dark note, drifting through louche bars, struggling with the problem of how those who come into contact with evil can remain undefiled.
Now Carofiglio turns the screw in a work whose main character is operating even closer to the criminal underworld. Moral investigation is taken to an even deeper level as he explores the mind of a policeman driven to seek psychiatric help. Roberto, now himself addicted to cocaine, was forced as an undercover detective not only to witness but to participate in the crimes of narcotics gangs. The guilt still haunts him. He can, of course, justify his actions superficially: by posing as a drugs dealer he was able to send many criminals to trial. But can this truly relieve him of the deep involvement that attended his underworld life?
Roberto's covert code name was "mongoose", symbolic as an animal that can kill snakes. But the reason a mongoose is deadly is not merely that it can attack and kill with dizzying speed: it has an inbuilt immunity to cobra venom. Roberto comes to realise that he was supreme at the job of bringing down criminals because, like the mongoose, he possessed the same deadly affinity. He came to enjoy theft and drugs. But how far did this affinity take him? Gradually, the more horrific episodes in his past come to light as he scrutinises each for his own degree of participation. The plotting is immaculate. Interspersed with Roberto's accounts of his adult adventures are his dreams of childhood.
Into Roberto's wretched world a new theme begins to intrude in the person of Emma, a fellow-patient with whom he scrapes an acquaintance. Gradually secrets in her past are revealed, their relationship deepens, and Roberto begins to emerge from his despair, perceiving the circular nature of experience as he returns to the sea. This is a remarkable piece of work: crime fiction as a profound exploration of the human psyche.
TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success
tvU2’s latest record has been accused of promoting sex between men
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao live: Mayweather puts on defensive masterclass to win by unanimous decision
- 4 Floyd Mayweather's mouthguard costs $25,000 - enough to fly to Las Vegas and back 18 times
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Daredevil, Netflix, TV review: Marvel wins first fight in bid for television domination with Charlie Cox's superhero vigilante
Grace Dent on TV: Peter Kay's Car Share made me genuinely LOL
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
London Marathon: Best running songs from Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to 'Uptown Funk'
The highly NSFW poster for Gaspar Noé's Love makes Nymphomaniac look like 50 Shades
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns