Andrea Camilleri – The Potter’s Field

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The Montalbano TV series was a delight – funny, entertaining and with its share of drama.  The relationships between Montalbano, Fazio and Mimi created an interesting dynamic, and Catarella was always good for a laugh, with both visual and verbal humour. I enjoyed it so much I have now turned to the novels themselves.

Camilleri’s The Potter’s Field is the first I have read, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.  It’s at least as good as the TV version, in fact better.  The translator does struggle a bit in rendering Catarella’s Sicilian dialect, and the spoken language of some of the other “base” characters.  I suppose there’s not really an English equivalent.  That apart the book contains all the humour and variety of the TV series, and more.

Montalbano himself becomes a much more interesting character in the novels because we get to see more of his interior life – both his bad temper and his cunning.  His political views and his cynicism about Italian politics, its corruption and the influence of the Mafia are more evident, and the satirical dimension more pronounced.  The office politics, where Montalbano is the master, and the amorous ones, where he can be the hen-pecked “husband” are perhaps stereotypical, but certainly funny.

I will be reading more of these stories, even though I have watched all of the plots on TV. You should too.

BBC 4 Montalbano Series

Guardian Review

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