This collection of short stories is probably the most inspiring book I have read in this year so far. I confess how I have tried to imitate this way of...moreThis collection of short stories is probably the most inspiring book I have read in this year so far. I confess how I have tried to imitate this way of writing several times but with pretty mediocre results.
I don't remember why the book doesn't reach a five stars rate as there were moments of absolute genius in these pages.
Let me add just one thing: Dürrenmatt should have painted less and written more. His drawings were absolutely poor compared to his stories.
What a book. I could be speechless and that would be the best review. I cannot resist, though.
This story is pure perfection without any doubt. The same...moreWhat a book. I could be speechless and that would be the best review. I cannot resist, though.
This story is pure perfection without any doubt. The same narration seem to follow the clock like in a nouvelle vague movie, going from the daylight 'sober' normality to the late night 'drunk' judgement.
There is this subtle veil of wickedness the reader get more and more aware of, page after page. Still, this evil part is somehow perceived but not realized by Alfredo Traps, the protagonist, who keep in eating and drinking, while put on trial. Then he will understand how the real game was not the trial, but the blowout he had and this consciousness will be devastating for him.
"Die Panne" is sublime and thrilling to read. Moreover I am pretty sure you will get involved as I was in the process of interpretating this book as soon as you will close it.
The best crime fiction novel I read so far. The written proof how literary genres and labels should not mean a thing.
In fact calling Dürrenmatt a crime...moreThe best crime fiction novel I read so far. The written proof how literary genres and labels should not mean a thing.
In fact calling Dürrenmatt a crime fiction novelist would be a crime by itself. And yet this book must be read from all those who are idolizing the "Scandinavian crime fiction golden vein". As for me, what Dürrenmatt wrote here has very much to do with the success later gained by, say, Stig Larsson, Joe Nesbø and Henning Mankell. Still he did it almost 50 years in advance.
"The Pledge" is masterfully written, has a rare psychological insight and works even better because of the contrast and counterposition between a brutal crime and the neatness of a well-fed social welfare country: Switzerland. A country where people want a peaceful life, but may not hesitate to lynch the suspicious, and then automatically guilty, foreigner in order to have their own summary justice. Does it ring any bell?
Dürrenmatt loved and hated that Switzerland, his Switzerland. Therefore his best characters are the ones who can not stand its outward appearance, feeling oppressed, winning their battle for thinking out of the mass, but quite often losing the war. Matthäi, the protagonist of "The Pledge" is a winner who loses or maybe a loser who wins. The right definition of him is up to the reader. (less)
On several mornings there is this moment before taking a bus for going to job in which I have a quick glance around in my room looking for something t...moreOn several mornings there is this moment before taking a bus for going to job in which I have a quick glance around in my room looking for something to read. Something enjoyable for distracting me from the symphonic horns of the traffic jams or from the loud speaking cellphone monologues of inspired daily travets.
When summer comes to town I try to catch books I forgot to have bought or to give a second chance to half-read novels. Martin Suter's "Ein perfekter Freund" joins the first mentioned club.
The book is an intriguing, catchy novel written in a convincing style without aiming too high, but simply focusing on the plot. There is no useless page, no unrequired description, no flaneur-like observation, but a story to tell from beginning to end.
Suter manages to create realistic main characters, being able to surprise the reader without exaggerating as it often may happen in this kind of thrilleresque story. Sharing the same roots and job with the main protagonist of the book, I have to underline how it's extremely rare in literature finding an Italian character like Fabio Rossi who doesn't carry a heavy luggage of stereotypes. Of course this guy is far from perfection (and this distance will increase page after page), but except for his dedication for the squad of the Italian football team of 1982 he doesn't look out of place in contemporary Switzerland.
Where the writer partially fails is in populating this book with too many characters. Most of them are able to show a sketch of personality of their own, but are forgotten by Suter at the end. However, considering how the main theme of the book is about the attempt of recovering "islands of memory" in an ocean of forgotten ones after a traumatic accident there is no surprise in noticing that the novelist himself leaves someone at the bottom of amnesia. (less)