I am delighted to learn from Euro Crime that The Potter’s Field by Andrea Camilleri, translated by Stephen Sartarelli, has won the International Dagger for 2012. From the CWA website:
The judges said ‘Camilleri’s Montalbano novels show just how much can be achieved with familiar materials when a writer conveys the sense of life in a recognizable place. He combines characters, plots, and reflections on Italy’s particular social and political problems, with wry—but never bitter—satire. In this novel the late-afternoon shadows lengthen; Montalbano is feeling his age.’
I reviewed this novel (as well as most of the others in the series) for Euro Crime. From my review:
THE POTTER’S FIELD is an excellent book. All the familiar characters are here, but events have taken a darker turn. Salvo is feeling his age, and with reason is increasingly depressed about the state of his beautiful country and the way in which it is ruined by politicians and gangsters alike. The novel is more than a crime novel – though the plot is very clever and convoluted, because of the way Salvo decides to proceed with it – it is a meditation on getting older, on failing powers, and on the uncertain future we all face.
Read the complete review here.
Euro Crime: Andrea Camilleri’s books in reading order, with links to reviews of all the titles.
The 2012 shortlist for the CWA International Dagger:
Andrea Camilleri – The Potter’s Field tr. Stephen Sartarelli (Italy)
Maurizio De Giovanni – I Will Have Vengeance tr. Anne Milano Appel (Italy)
Asa Larsson – Until Thy Wrath be Past tr. Laurie Thompson (Sweden)
Deon Meyer – Trackers tr. K L Seegers (South Africa)
Jo Nesbo – Phantom tr. Don Bartlett (Norway)
Valerio Varesi – The Dark Valley tr. Joseph Farrell (Italy)
My own personal shortlist for 2012.
Already we are forced to think about 2103, as several books have already been published that must be strong contenders for next year’s award. Watch this space!
All my posts on the International Dagger awards.
Petrona’s International Dagger page – includes a list of each year’s winner with links to my reviews of each; a link to the shortlist for each year; and a link to Euro Crime’s comprehensive list of all the eligible titles for each year. A reader’s treasure trove.
I think it was a Kirkus review that described Camilleri as mysteries for people who like the journey as much as the destination which summed up his books very well for me. This is a deserving winner (if not my personal choice) but now on to 2013
I’m fine with Camilleri winning for The Potter’s Field. I agree it’s one of the best in the series about our cantankerous, yet brilliant and lovable Sicilian police detective. So many times I laughed out loud at Montalbano’s thoughts or speech. I admired the precisely correct words and the wit. And I commiserated with the aspects of the aging process that Montalbano is experiencing. I’m glad at 86 that Camilleri won.
And I’m just as glad that the brilliant – and also witty — Stephen Sarterelli won for his excellent translations of this series. Not only his translations, but his end notes are as much a part of the enjoyment of the books as are Montalbano’s thoughts and deeds.
Agree with you, Bernadette and Kathy. I just think it is so silly that the CWA now excludes (or seems to exclude) translated fiction from the diamond and gold daggers. The diamond dagger is for a body of work and who would be a better winner of that than Camilleri for his 13 so-far translated Montalbano novels? What other series of 13 books has been so consistently original?
I head about Andrea Camilleri so much Maxine but have yet to read any of them. 13 books did you say? …wow… it will be hard for me to read all. if I were to read one, where should I start?
The first is The Shape of Water, I’d start with that as the relationships between the characters build over the series. They are very short and sweet (but with a bite!).
Thanks for the recommendation Maxine!
Very good point, Maxine. Of course, the Diamond and Gold daggers should include translated crime fiction. That would seem quite basic. Hope the judges read this comment and rethink their approach on those two awards.
I think the UK publishers objected the year Arnaldur Indridason won the main award, as they could not “market/sell” translated fiction as well as they could native English-written. So they invented the international dagger award and hived it off. That was well before Stieg Larsson, of course 😉 However, translated fiction is eligible for the award for first novels (eg Theorin won it fairly recently).
One other point: Thanks for your comment on Alice LaPlante’s Turn of Mind at FF, particularly that it’s on another level like Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. Since this comparison has been made, I’m moving LaPlante’s book high up on my TBR list.
I hope you like it. It has already won at least one very prestigious science book prize — one of my observations is that once a book wins one award it tends to win more 😉
Another interesting point: Just listened to Mallan Nunn’s interview with Shelleyrae of Book’d Out (link at Fair Dinkum Drime). When Nunn was asked what crime fiction she’d read lately that she would recommend, she highly praised Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. After reading that, she was afraid to pick up another book, fearing that it would be a brutal and bloody read as so many are now.
Thanks, Kathy, I like both those points of view from Malla Nunn. It’s more than possible to write an excellent book with some suspense and/or violent event(s), without having to produce a PhD thesis on the method of dispatch, postmortem, etc!