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About the Author: Andrea Camilleri

Andrea Camilleri (born september 6, 1925 in Porto Empedocle) is an Italian writer. He is considered one of the greatest Italian writers of both 20th and 21st centuries.

Originally from Porto Empedocle, Sicily, Camilleri began studies at the Faculty of Literature in 1944, without concluding them, meanwhile publishing poems and short stories. Around this time he joined the Italian Communist Party.

From 1948 to 1950 Camilleri studied stage and film direction at the Silvio D'Amico Academy of Dramatic Arts, and began to take on work as a director and screenwriter, directing especially plays by Pirandello and Beckett. As a matter of fact, his parents knew Pirandello and were even distant friends, as he tells in his essay on Pirandello "Biography of the changed son". His most famous works, the Montalbano series show many pirandellian elements: for example, the wild olive tree that helps Montalbano think, is on stage in his late work "The giants of the mountain"

With RAI, Camilleri worked on several TV productions, such as Inspector Maigret with Gino Cervi. In 1977 he returned to the Academy of Dramatic Arts, holding the chair of Movie Direction, and occupying it for 20 years.

In 1978 Camilleri wrote his first novel Il Corso Delle Cose ("The Way Things Go"). This was followed by Un Filo di Fumo ("A Thread of Smoke") in 1980. Neither of these works enjoyed any significant amount of popularity.

In 1992, after a long pause of 12 years, Camilleri once more took up novel-writing. A new book, La Stagione della Caccia ("The Hunting Season") turned out to be a best-seller.

In 1994 Camilleri published the first in a long series of novels: La forma dell'Acqua (The Shape of Water) featured the character of Inspector Montalbano, a fractious Sicilian detective in the police force of Vigàta, an imaginary Sicilian town. The series is written in Italian but with a substantial sprinkling of Sicilian phrases and grammar. The name Montalbano is an homage to the Spanish writer Manuel Vázquez Montalbán; the similarities between Montalban's Pepe Carvalho and Camilleri's fictional detective are remarkable. Both writers make great play of their protagonists' gastronomic preferences.

This feature provides an interesting quirk which has become something of a fad among his readership even in mainland Italy. The TV adaptation of Montalbano's adventures, starring the perfectly-cast Luca Zingaretti, further increased Camilleri's popularity to such a point that in 2003 Camilleri's home town, Porto Empedocle - on which Vigàta is modelled - took the extraordinary step of changing its official denomination to that of Porto Empedocle Vigàta, no doubt with an eye to capitalising on the tourism possibilities thrown up by the author's work.

In 1998 Camilleri won the Nino Martoglio International Book Award.

Camilleri now lives in Rome where he works as a TV and theatre director. About 10 million copies of his novels have been sold to date, and are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and North America.

In addition to the degree of popularity brought him by the novels, in recent months Andrea Camilleri has become even more of a media icon thanks to the parodies aired on an RAI radio show, where popular comedian, TV-host and impression artist Fiorello presents him as a raspy voiced, caustic character, madly in love with cigarettes and smoking (Camilleri is well-known for his love of tobacco).

He received an honorary degree from University of Pisa in 2005.


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Goodreads rating: 3.77

Paperback, by Barcelona: Ediciones Salamandra

ISBN10: 8498380774 | ISBN13: 9788498380774

Page count: 288

En una nueva demostración de sus dotes narrativas, que en esta novela alcanzan nuevas cotas de excelencia, Andrea Camilleri reafirma su categoría de maestro del retrato psicológico y social. Sin renunciar al tono socarrón que lo caracteriza, el gran autor siciliano aborda con rigor la investigación de unos hechos verídicos acaecidos durante las primeras décadas del siglo pasado, exponiendo sin remilgos la capacidad del poder político para envolver la realidad en un manto de mistificación y retórica exaltadora, hasta el punto de llevarla al límite del absurdo.
Corre el año 1941 cuando el narrador asiste con sus compañeros de colegio a la conmemoración de la muerte del joven Gigino Gattuso, el «único mártir fascista siciliano», que veinte años atrás había caído durante un enfrentamiento con un grupo de militantes comunistas. Paso a paso y detalle a detalle, como si de una moviola se tratase, el autor repasa la secuencia de los acontecimientos, alternando la malicia burlona con una magnánima compasión por las víctimas de los dos bandos, a su manera siempre inocentes. Tan inocente es el comunista inculpado como el difunto fascista, obviamente ajeno a la póstuma conspiración política que lo despojó de la dignidad de simple muerto «sin título». Y como si el relato de esta farsa no bastara, Camilleri añade, a modo de colofón, la monumental fantochada que supuso el proyecto Mussolinia, la ciudad-jardín ideada por los jerarcas de Caltagirone para dejar testimonio eterno de la gloria del Duce.
Enormemente divertido a la par que profundo, nadie como Andrea Camilleri para alumbrar los aspectos más oscuros y trágicos del espíritu humano.

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