Monday, April 2, 2018

Review: The Brewer of Preston by Andrea Camilleri

The Brewer of Preston
This was an added extra when I picked up a few of Camilleri's "Inspector Montalbano" books from the local library.

The setting Vigata in the 1870s, and the proposed production of a play - the Brewer of Preston - at the local theatre by the Prefect of Vigata - an event which the townsfolk intend will never happen. 

What was unexpected was how this writing style differs so much from the "Inspector Montalbano" novels. The chapters, which introduce us to an eclectic and eccentric cast of characters, are presented in no particular order - in fact we are told to read them in whatever order we like! As we slowly read, we pick up little hints as to how each scene and the characters will eventually relate, and the circumstances that bring them all together begins to unfold.

" ... how many things in Sicily happened by mistake ..."

The writing is at times sardonic, comedic, tragic, farcical, absurd. Loaded with clever, and often satirical, writing, Camilleri reveals tempestuous political scheming and double crossing, murder, infidelity, police corruption, anarchy, organised crime - and above, the Sicilian style of justice.

One is left wondering ... is the opera being acted out on the stage or in the real lives of the novel's characters...

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