More about the book soon. I got it in the mail yesterday, and after finishing up another book,I started and finished this one last night. I was goingMore about the book soon. I got it in the mail yesterday, and after finishing up another book,I started and finished this one last night. I was going to save it for my upcoming vacation, but I couldn't wait that long. ...more
This is the 18th installment in Camilleri's Montalbano series, and from day one I've thoroughly enjoyed each and every book. That hasn't changed, althThis is the 18th installment in Camilleri's Montalbano series, and from day one I've thoroughly enjoyed each and every book. That hasn't changed, although it does seem to me that Camilleri has taken a more serious direction this time around. Salvo is still Salvo though, still eating at Enzo's trattoria, still taking time to meditate on his rock, and still getting in trouble with the ladies while Livia isn't around. This time it's his new neighbor, the knock-out Signora Liliana Lombardo.
As usual, Montalbano's strange dream opens the novel, interrupted (thankfully) by a call reporting that a bomb has gone off somewhere. No one is hurt, thank goodness, but trying to discover who set it off and why is the squad's major challenge. As the investigation proceeds, Liliana is doing all she can to seduce the Inspector both publicly and privately, leading Salvo to question her motivation. Not that he's not an attractive man, but still -- even to him she's overdoing it. While the bombing investigation proceeds, Salvo finds himself under fire from his TV-reporter nemesis Ragonese, but when things start to escalate and dead bodies start turning up, Salvo realizes that someone really has it in for him. By the time things come to this point, the hunt is on for exactly who this might be, and more specifically, why Salvo himself has become a target. He is, in short, "faced with a a series of occurrences without any apparent reason behind them."
Reading this novel, you might notice that this book isn't quite as funny or as critical as the past installments have been and that here the focus seems to be much more on trying to connect the dots between a series of strange crimes. At the same time, the story has all the same characters, relationships, and dialogue that together with Montalbano's quirkiness have kept me reading through eighteen books. I think what I enjoy most about this book beyond the usual craziness and the convoluted crimes is Camilleri's flair for catching the people whom one might run into on the streets. There's a great scene (184,185), for example, where an old man is sitting in a building's courtyard, smoking a pipe, complaining that he doesn't talk to his daughter because she doesn't want him smoking inside the house. The old guy is just so perfectly captured here that you can't help but laugh, especially when he punctuates his complaints by spitting "a clot of dense brown material that looked like prune jam."
PLEASE do not let this book be your first introduction to Camilleri's novels -- you will have missed precisely what makes these books so wonderful and so worth the wait for each and every new book. Getting back to the oddball combination of realistic crazy people in these books is the highlight of each installment. I will be SO incredibly bummed when this series is over. ...more
the brief version; you can look to my online reading journal here for more.
First, thanks so very much to Doubleday for my copy. Having no idea who ththe brief version; you can look to my online reading journal here for more.
First, thanks so very much to Doubleday for my copy. Having no idea who the hell was Iceberg Slim, I was in no great hurry to read it, but I'm so glad I picked it up.
It took author Justin Gifford over ten years to research and put together this book, and right up front he says that at "first glance" writing about a guy who'd been a pimp for twenty-five years might seem to be "an appalling choice for a biography," since we're talking about someone who "abused hundreds of women throughout his lifetime;" he also describes him as "one of the most influential renegades" of the past century. On the other hand, even though "he is practically unknown to the American mainstream," Beck went on to write a number of novels as well as his autobiography, Pimp: The Story of My Life. Robin D.G. Kelley, an historian whose work I respect, also notes in the New Yorker that it's not just in the mainstream where Iceberg Slim's work remains relatively unknown -- he states that he's "amazed" that "well-read people" are unfamiliar with Beck's writing as well.
As Gifford notes, Beck is a "mess of contradictions," --
"student at Tuskegee Institute, Chicago pimp with connections to the black mafia, amateur scholar of psychoanalysis, pulp paperback writer, family man, Black Panther Party sympathizer, Hollywood darling of the blaxploitation era, and godfather of hip-hop...all these things and more..."
and that this book "attempts to make sense of these seemingly incongruent identities."
Gifford moves chronologically through Beck's life, using Beck's writings as well as other primary sources to present his readers with a picture of this man, at times testing what Beck writes about himself "against the historical record." Readers also get a view of the huge number of challenges faced by African-Americans in America's cities from the time of the Great Migration up through 1992 and the Rodney King Riots; the author also takes his readers into the growth of African-American activism and politics in general, but more importantly, directly into how events shaped Beck's politics and his writing.
If you want nice-nice and sugar-coated life story, you are NOT going to get it here. Nor is it exactly "true crime," as I see that some people are regarding it. It is downright gritty, mean and in a lot of places, just plain ugly -- not solely in terms of the abuse of women, but also in white America's racist policies and tactics that kept segregation and the realities of Jim Crow an ongoing reality. Highly highly recommended; this is the sort of book I just love. ...more