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5.0 out of 5 stars Camilleri e' bravissimo
Non dovreste mancare di leggerlo, tanto poi stimola la diuresi ed alza la colesterolemia
Published on Feb. 23 2003 by joco poco

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Italy for Killers
Salvo Montalbano is an Italian detective who lives in a small town in Sicily. Unlike many American detective novels where the protagonist is tough and hard boiled, Montalbano is refined, and cultured. He is known in the community to be fair minded and kind with a love of fine food and finer women.
When a important official in town is found dead in a seedy area...
Published on Dec 15 2003 by Brett Benner


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Italian Mystery Novel Suffers in Translation, June 22 2012
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This review is from: The Shape of Water (Paperback)
The Shape of Water is a mediocre mystery, if one judges a novel by the reader's compulsion to discover the murderer.The thrust to learn the truth of a detective story is hampered by translation from Italian. It is not a bad translation, but it is a tale told not in its original language. Therefore the author's Sicilian humour and sense of comic doom and shrug of cynical chaos reads oddly in Englgish. What may be sprightly prose in Italian is workmanlike plodding in colorless English. Granted, I am a big fan of idiomatic English and no fan at all of translation. I would end with an Italian proverbial saying that covers the situation perfectly: traditore - tradutore "the translator is a traitor." It means the author's intents in his native language can never be fully transposed into a foreign language. And Andrea Camilleri, whatever his prowess in Italian, does not translate into the deft and compelling English required to hold a mystery reader's attention.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Italy for Killers, Dec 15 2003
By 
Brett Benner (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Salvo Montalbano is an Italian detective who lives in a small town in Sicily. Unlike many American detective novels where the protagonist is tough and hard boiled, Montalbano is refined, and cultured. He is known in the community to be fair minded and kind with a love of fine food and finer women.
When a important official in town is found dead in a seedy area Montalbano investigates with his own style and charm.
The book, the first of four, has been translated from Italian, and the books are bestsellers in Europe. While enjoyable, it was an adjustment from what I'm usually used to reading in regards to mystery novels. Much of the book deals with life in an Italian town and the heiarchy that exists there, as well as the political climate. A glossary in the back provides translations from everything to local police customs to money exchanges. While giving you a definite feel of time and place, it didn't always engage me like I hoped it would. Still, it's an enjoyable and quick read if you're looking for a mystery series that's different in tone and locale.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri, Dec 9 2003
By 
H. Row "in1ear" (Arvada, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri, Stephen Sartarelli (Translator)
The way that I read books is to start 3 or 4 at a time, When I become bored with one I just pick up where i've left off with another. If one is particularly interesting I can literally finish it within a few days. My genre of choice are mysteries from NY Times Best Sellers to relative unheard of or long forgotten writers. So, I was quite excited when Penquin books / Viking Press offered to send me copies of four of Mr Camilleri's mysteries which have been translated into English to read and review.
Unfortunately, Andrea Camilleri's Sicilian police inspector Salvo Montalbano The Shape of Water has been almost impossible to read. The books are quite a departure from what most American mystery readers are expecting. There are several murders, no car chases, nor fist fights, nor shoot outs. That isn't necessarily why I can't say I didn't like the books.
I recently read and reviewed Alexander McCall Smith's "Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series, where there are no shoot outs, etc and was thoroughly entertained by the series.
I think what was lacking for me from Mr. Camilleri's books were something to relate to from an investigators process in solving the main and then the subsequent crimes. When I finally finished the book , the crime was solved and I had no idea HOW it was solved.
After The Shape of Water, I know what to expect from other books in the series. I'll give the other books a shot and see if it was just me and this particular work of the author
John Row
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5.0 out of 5 stars Camilleri e' bravissimo, Feb. 23 2003
By 
joco poco (Italia, Coppito) - See all my reviews
Non dovreste mancare di leggerlo, tanto poi stimola la diuresi ed alza la colesterolemia
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Decent read, but why so vulgar?, April 8 2004
By 
JB (Brookline, Ma, United States) - See all my reviews
I bought the first three of Camilleri's books, mostly to read on a vacation in Sicily. I'd done the same with Donna Leon's books on a trip to Venice and enjoyed mixing fiction and setting. But I found these books less enjoyable.
The stories are in themselves mostly enjoyable, with some particularly clever parts, but all three were quite vulgar, with generous doses of very crude sexual and homosexual banter. It seemed so contrived and stereotypically alpha-male macho, and did not add to the story or the characters. I can accept that a certain amount of this kind of thing might find it's way into stories involving pimps, prostitutes, murders, mafioso, and the like, but it just didn't add to the story at all, and seemed more out of place in otherwise well written story. Is this here to titilate us? Spare me, please.
I did go ahead and read all three, so it wasn't enough to stop me from reading what I'd brought along, but I won't buy any more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The REAL Sicily, May 1 2006
Recently had to read this book for uni, found it one of the very few Italian detective novels that portrayed an accurate view of Sicily, using fictional names for real places, real politics and real crime. Camilleri is an incredible and unique story teller, especially in this genre, check out the descriptions of the Sicilian dialect on page 6! A real mix of a Marlow type detective and a great police procedural! Down to earth language with a nice humourous element for good measure. Really great read,as are all his other books, and for a change nothing gets lost in translation, its just a shame they're not all translated. But i do believe there's nothing like reading the original text!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing change, March 14 2004
Andrea Camilleri's "The Shape of Water" is the first in a series of Inspector Montalbano mysteries, only recently translated to English. I wasn't sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised by interesting characters, a mystery I didn't figure out in advance, and a protaganist with many layers, who is serious, intelligent, self-depracating, and quite funny!
The story begins with the discovery by 2 garbagemen of a local politician, dead in a car, with his pants around his ankles. Detective work in Sicily is quite different than what you would expect in the US. But Inspector Montalbano performs his job largely independent of supervision and is fairly free to follow up in whatever way he pleases.
The pace is relaxed, and the book does not have your typical action-adventure style. Everything is revealed in a very matter of fact style in a storytelling manner, rather than one action scene to the next. Not to worry though, there are plenty of questions to be answered here, and Montalbano gets to them in his own good time. He manages to fit in a love interest, and some fantastic gourmet food as he goes about his days. His gastronomic interests are amusing in themselves.
I don't want to go on about the story itself here, it might spoil the surprises for the readers. Suffice to say this was a very enjoyable read, with plenty of plot twists, that will make you want to read the rest of the series. Highly recommended to mystery lovers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good introduction to excellent series, Feb. 11 2004
The body of a well known politician is found with his pants down, literally. But instead of a coverup, his lawyer suggests calling in the police. Police Inspector Montalbano is suspicious, but the autopsy says the death was natural--a heart attack. Still, Montalbano insists on keeping the case open, investigating what really happened. Because in Sicily, where the Mafia remains strong, the truth can be as malleable as water.
Montalbano's investigations probe political corruption, sexual deviance, and Sicily's underworld, but the evidence seems clear. The only question is, who was the beautiful girl who abandoned the minister when he died.
THE SHAPE OF WATER is the first in a really fine mystery series by author Andrea Camilleri. In WATER, Montalbano is already a fully developed and intriguing character with a strong moral sense and an attractive disregard for the letter of the law. Hints of his passion for the taste and smells of Sicily come out although these are more fully developed in later books in the series.
Camilleri's mystery is fully engaging and Montalbano is a great character. Although I didn't find THE SHAPE OF WATER quite as compelling as some of the later novels in the series, it is a highly enjoyable read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Camilleri Develops a World-Wide Audience, Feb. 2 2004
By 
L. Quido "quidrock" (Tampa, FL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
In a grotesque death, Sicilian politician and wealthy engineer Silvio Luparello, is found in a remote "pasture", or the equivalent of a lonely stretch of land where prostitutes ply their trade in their clients' cars. Garbagemen find the car, and the body, with its pants around its knees, and we are immediately struck by how much effort is expended to downplay the incident and cover up the cause of death. Into this mess comes well-respected middle-aged Inspector Salvo Montalbano, a life-long resident of the fictional Sicilian coastal town of Vigata.
The novel follows Montalbano's clever and well-manuevered search for the truth; letting the reader meet local politicians, Montalbano's friends and colleagues, the family of the dead man, and a mysterious and roundheeled woman who races cars for a living, and is somehow entangled in Luparello's death. In a sidebar, Montalbano also makes the acquaintance of the garbagemen, and learns of a serious healthcare crisis with the child of one of them.
As he researches the case, Montalbano breaks a lot of rules, but delicately, becomes chagrined over the affections of a young police officer (the daughter of his old friend), makes time to woo his own love, Livia, in Genoa, and flies under the radar of town leaders, religious leaders and his superior officers, all of whom want him to close the case quickly, and admit that Luparello dies of natural causes.
The reader develops an appreciation for Montalbano's subtlety, and his art in acquiring delicious food from friends, restaurants, and his own kitchen...Montalbano loves a good meal. The cynicism and humor are subtle here, poking gentle fun at Sicilian political customs, such as a killing where everyone hopes the death was a Mafia hit, so that they don't have to search for the real cause.
I've read so much that's good about the work of author Andrea Camilleri (a citizen of Rome, now age "70 ", author of screenplays for Italian television, producer and director for TV and the theater, and award-winning novelist and short story writer) that it was inevitable that I would find the time to start his "Inspector Montalbano" series with "A Shape of Water".
I must admit I'm puzzled as to how the title ties into the story, but know this -- I probably won't stop until I've read them all. At this point, 4 of the 7 novels have been translated into English. First published in 1994, this novel has been translated into 8 languages, and began to circulate in English in 2002. The translator, American Stephen Sartarelli, does a fine job, and, although there is a breakdown from time to time in sentence structure, Sartarelli provides three dozen notes in the back of the book, to help Americans understand Sicilian customs and culture. This goes a long way to breaking down the barriers to the book.
Having not yet read the remaining books, I believe that they probably succeed in developing tighter story lines, and allowing us to build on Montalbano's quaint idiosyncracies. Hopefully, they'll include more of his childhood friend, Gege, who is now Vigata's leading pimp...
"Salvo and Gege were listless schoolboys, learning their lessons like parrots".....(now as adults)..Gege: "And I tell you in my own interest. Because for a big cheese like Luparello to come and croak at the Pasture, isn't good for business....Can I go now? These are peak hours at the Pasture."
One word of note, this work, and probably that of the following novels, is graphic in the use of foul language and sexual situations. If this bothers you, you're not going to want to read on.
I'm definitely impressed and am going on to read the next books in series, with the hope that the international audience is right...Camilleri just keeps getting better and better.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sharp, fresh and funny., Jan. 30 2004
By 
L. Quido "quidrock" (Tampa, FL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
In a grotesque death, Sicilian politician and wealthy engineer Silvio Luparello, is found in a remote "pasture", or the equivalent of a lonely stretch of land where prostitutes ply their trade in their clients' cars. Garbagemen find the car, and the body, with its pants around its knees, and we are immediately struck by how much effort is expended to downplay the incident and cover up the cause of death.
Into this mess comes well-respected middle-aged Inspector Salvo Montalbano, a life-long resident of the fictional Sicilian coastal town of Vigata. The novel follows Montalbano's clever and well-manuevered search for the truth; letting the reader meet local politicians, Montalbano's friends and colleagues, the family of the dead man, and a mysterious and roundheeled woman who races cars for a living, and is somehow entangled in Luparello's death. In a sidebar, Montalbano also makes the acquaintance of the garbagemen, and learns of a serious healthcare crisis with the child of one of them.
As he researches the case, Montalbano breaks a lot of rules, but delicately, becomes chagrined over the affections of a young police officer (the daughter of his old friend), makes time to woo his own love, Livia, in Genoa, and flies under the radar of town leaders, religious leaders and his superior officers, all of whom want him to close the case quickly, and admit that Luparello dies of natural causes.
The reader develops an appreciation for Montalbano's subtlety, and his art in acquiring delicious food from friends, restaurants, and his own kitchen...Montalbano loves a good meal. The cynicism and humor are subtle here, poking gentle fun at Sicilian political customs, such as a killing where everyone hopes the death was a Mafia hit, so that they don't have to search for the real cause.
I'm recommending this book wholeheartedly. I've read so much that's good about the work of author Andrea Camilleri (a citizen of Rome, now age "70 ", author of screenplays for Italian television, producer and director for TV and the theater, and award-winning novelist and short story writer) that it was inevitable that I would find the time to start his "Inspector Montalbano" series with "A Shape of Water". I must admit I'm puzzled as to how the title ties into the story, but know this -- I probably won't stop until I've read them all.
At this point, 4 of the 7 novels have been translated into English. First published in 1994, this novel has been translated into 8 languages, and began to circulate in English in 2002. The translator, American Stephen Sartarelli, does a fine job, and, although there is a breakdown from time to time in sentence structure, Sartarelli provides three dozen notes in the back of the book, to help Americans understand Sicilian customs and culture. This goes a long way to breaking down the barriers to the book.
Having not yet read the remaining books, I believe that they probably succeed in developing tighter story lines, and allowing us to build on Montalbano's quaint idiosyncracies. Hopefully, they'll include more of his childhood friend, Gege, who is now Vigata's leading pimp... "Salvo and Gege were listless schoolboys, learning their lessons like parrots".....(now as adults)..Gege: "And I tell you in my own interest. Because for a big cheese like Luparello to come and croak at the Pasture, isn't good for business....Can I go now? These are peak hours at the Pasture."
One word of note, this work, and probably that of the following novels, is graphic in the use of foul language and sexual situations. If this bothers you, you're not going to want to read on.
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The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri (Paperback - May 31 2005)
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