Massimo Carlotto – At the End of a Dull Day

Dulldaypic_1383942569This is the second book in a month that I’ve read where the violence has made me wince. But, like in Pierre LeMaitre’s Irene, the level of violence in At the End of a Dull Day seems proportionate to the setting and the oeuvre within which Massimo Carlotto writes.

Georgio Pellogrino, a protagnist in an earlier Carlotto novel, is leading a relatively straight existence running a popular restaurant in the Veneto area of Italy. Frequented by politicians and other members of polite Italian society, the restaurant comes under threat when Pelligrino discovers that a popular politician with Ministerial ambitions has lost two million of Pellegrino’s Euros in a Ponzi style scheme. He swears revenge and discovers a lost appetite for violence and killing.

Although, at 192 pages, this is a relatively short book, the narrative is densely packed in terms of both plot and characterisation. Pelligrino is an anti-hero of the traditional kind. His capacity for violence, especially towards women, is shocking but there’s a world weariness to him too. As readers we’re both shocked by the contempt with which he treats the women in his life and he absurd justifications he makes for doing so.

I found the narrative to be completely compelling and read it in virtually one sitting. In many ways this isn’t the style of book I normally read but I could only sit back and enjoy the stark brutality of Carlotto’s writing.

Thanks to Europa Editions for my review copy. The translator was Antony Shugaar .

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14 thoughts on “Massimo Carlotto – At the End of a Dull Day

  1. You haven’t convinced me to give it a go but only because I am wary of the violence level, even if it is appropriate for the context. I do know that there is violence in the world and I don’t want my crime fiction to be white-washed…but at the same time I do sometimes feel overwhelmed by it all. So I’ll put this one on the maybe list.

  2. I loved this book – the violence is tongue-in-cheek, noirish, not really overt. And the main character is just one of those bad boys who makes you squirm and yet still root for him in a strange way… It also describes the confusion and ethical morass of present-day Italy, I find…

  3. Sarah – There are some writing styles like that – that just keep you drawn in although there may be a lot of violence, etc.. I must admit I’m not much for that much violence myself, and especially if it seems misogynistic. But I’m glad you found his writing style strong.

  4. I agree with those comments about the level of violence. Although it may be slyly humorous, it isn’t my cup of tea. And, basically, I have way too much to read in stacks and the list of TBR books just keeps proliferating.

  5. Pingback: The Best of April’s Reading | crimepieces

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