Friday, September 29, 2006

BRUNETTI'S ITALY



I have now finished reading Blood From A Stone, and have a warm glow from my memory of the reading pleasure, and thinking about Paola Brunetti.

Donna Leon's Brunetti novels are like a comfortable old pair of slippers, they are not exciting or fashionable, but put them on and they feel just right.

You just know what you are going to get with a Leon.

The gorgeous Paola Brunetti will deliver liberal platitudes as only someone with university tenure, a husband with a secure job and a very wealthy father could.

The solid Viannello and the delicious Signorina Elettra will support Guido in their different ways. The Signorina doing wonderous things with a computer and her multitude of contacts.
Vice-Questore Patta will be devious and obnoxious with a total disregard for justice, and anyone except himself.

Guido our hero will lunch on risotto with radiccchio di Treviso and a plate of cheese, and look pathetic until told that he will enjoy pork with olives and tomato sauce that night.
He will be pragmatic, and above all honest in his pursuit of the villains, and will try his best even when he knows that his best might not be enough.
The city of Venice will beckon to those of us, who rave about Rome and Florence, to visit her and be educated in her unique charms and beauty.

But above all the star of any Brunetti story is Italy that dysfunctional, incredibly corrupt state that somehow functions when in all reason it should collapse.

Italy is like a very naughty aunt you feel you should be shocked at her behaviour, but she is so beautiful and full of charm that you love her all the more.

4 Comments:

Blogger Peter said...

I like your slippers comparison. If you love Venice, you might like Michael Dibdin's Dead Lagoon. Venice -- I once got into a pillow fight there with a couple of traveling Americans.

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2:40 PM  
Anonymous maxine said...

Having read this book myself, I think you have captured its essence perfectly. Great vignette of a review.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Peter, I read Dead Lagoon a few years ago and really did enjoy it. I think we like the same sort of books, as I also read a lot of history.

Maxine, glad you liked my mini-review and appreciation of the Brunettis. I don't think I would be any good at trying to do a proper review, but I just intended to give a general impression for anyone who has not read the books, and encourage them to start.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

I've read four of Dibdin's Aurelio Zen books. I think Dibdin makes a game of writing an entire novel set in celebrated tourist destinations without mentioning a single sight tourists would go see. He's clever enough that I would not put such a conceit past him. (I have not read the novel that opens with a man falling to his death in St. Peter's, but obviously when Dibdin breaks his rule, he breaks it with a bang -- or, in this case, with a splat.)

10:57 AM  

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