Andrea Camilleri, grande scrittore siciliano ed autore della fortunata serie di romanzi sul commissario Montalbano, si è spento lo scorso luglio all’età di 93 anni. Dai romanzi al teatro fino alle prese di posizione sulla politica, con la sua scomparsa l'Italia piange uno dei più grandi e beneamati autori contemporanei. La sua carriera di scrittore cominciò in sordina, con una promessa fatta al padre in punto di morte e la pubblicazione de Il corso delle cose nel 1978. La prolifica produzione è quindi continuata in tutti questi anni alternando ai romanzi storici, tra cui il formidabile Birraio di Preston, i gialli di Montalbano, impastando realtà e fantasia in quella sua lingua eccezionale, il vigatese, che non aveva alcun corrispettivo nella realtà, ma che finiva per essere più concreta che mai. La fortunanta serie incentrata sulle indagini del commissario siciliano ha visto la luce nel '94, quando Sellerio portava in libreria La Forma dell'Acqua. Da allora, romanzo dopo romanzo, ne sono usciti altri trenta e continuerà un’ultima volta anche dopo la morte dell’autore: per disposizione dello stesso Camilleri, infatti, la casa editrice Sellerio ha conservato in cassaforte l’ultimo volume della serie, scritto anni fa con l’obbligo di pubblicarlo solo dopo la sua morte. Con questo ultimo gesto, l’autore se ne è andato come ha sempre vissuto: circondato dalle parole e raccontandoci storie.
While summer may be coming to an end, there is still time to get in one (or two!) more summer reads. If you’ve been looking for a gripping, crime-filled series, look no further. It’s time to meet Inspector Salvo Montalbano, an honest, decent and loyal hero. While his superiors regard him as somewhat of a loose cannon, Montalbano has an ability to navigate through a murky world full of shady connections and favors without compromising himself. The likeable, yet oft-brooding, small-town Sicilian police chief mixes humanity with pragmatism to solve crimes.
Author Andrea Camilleri was one of Italy’s most famous contemporary writers. His books, mostly set in his native Sicily, sold over 65 million copies worldwide. His best-selling Inspector Montalbano series, which began with “The Shape of Water,” has been translated into 32 languages and was adapted for Italian television.
“The Potter’s Field,” the 13th book in the series, was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association’s International Dagger for the best crime novel translated into English. In addition to this phenomenally successful series, he was also the author of the historical comic mysteries “Hunting Season” and “The Brewer of Preston.”
In Italy, literary bestsellers are usually measured by the tens of thousands of books they sell. Camilleri sold some 25 million copies of his. And his fans extend overseas. Legions of readers love police chief Montalbano, both in writing and on the adaptive TV series which was enjoyed across Europe, Latin America and Australia.
Camilleri often had several books high on the book sales charts in the same week. His success was especially notable because he was known to sprinkle his books with words unfamiliar to many Italians. He affectionately borrowed from the Sicilian dialect of his youth, believing he was better able to express his characters’ emotions more richly this way.
Camilleri was 69-years-old before he first reached best-selling fame. He produced his 100th book, “L’altro capo del filo” (“The Other End of the Thread”) in 2016 at age 90. The book, part of the Montalbano series, deals with the drama of thousands of migrants reaching Sicilian shores after being rescued at sea. Many of the novels convey past and current social and political social contexts. Camilleri once told the Guardian that social commentary “…was always my aim. In many crime novels, the events seem completely detached from the economic, political and social context in which they occur. [...] In my books, I deliberately decided to smuggle into a detective novel a critical commentary on my times. This also allowed me to show the progression and evolution in the character of Montalbano."
Andrea Camilleri was born in Porto Empedocle, Sicily, a port village that inspired Montalbano’s fictional town of Vigata. He died on July 17 of this year in a hospital in Rome at age 93.