A great shame that Michael Dibdin is gone (and only a day older than me!) His books were hardly literary masterpieces but the Aurelio Zen series was strikingly original. His brainwave was to use the crime fiction of Zen and his tangled personal life as a vehicle for a regular onslaught on the rampant corruption and sleaze at the heart of Italian society (Incidentally, he was brought up in Lisburn). I shall miss his books. See also: The Dark Heart of Italy by Tobias Jones.
Never mind Palimpsest, now we’ve lost another literary genius in the form of Kurt Vonnegut. Not only were his experiments with literary form extraordinary but he was not afraid to raise controversial political issues like the Dresden bombing in Slaughterhouse Five. Now it’s commonplace for people like John Le Carre to lay into political scandals.
Since John is still away (while the cat’s away the mice will play), here’s a great quote from Kurt Vonnegut: “I try to keep deep love out of my stories because, once that particular subject comes up, it is almost impossible to talk about anything else. Readers don’t want to hear about anything else. They go gaga about love. If a lover in a story wins his (sic) true love, that’s the end of the tale, even if World War Three is about to begin, and the sky is black with flying saucers.” (Independent Extra today)
Yes Nick, Dibdin and Vonnegut are both losses to booklovers everywhere. I had mixed feelings about Dibdin’s books (liked Dirty Tricks, wasn’t so fond of the Zen series), but he could certainly write. Vonnegut’s like will not be seen again and his passing leaves a huge hole, even though arguably he hadn’t hit his peaks in 30 or even 40 years.
As people hopefully now know, Palimpsest is back online and was gone due to problems renewing the domain subscription.
I am back too and will soon(ish) be posting up reviews of the books I read when I was away.