Friday, March 21, 2014

"Temporary Perfections", a thoughtful legal investigation from Gianrico Carofiglio

Why not another book commentary while waiting for some bright thoughts on the economy, global politics, or the outbreak of small can sodas.

Gianrico Carofiglio, like Chang-Rae Lee, is a novelist whose books have all been read here.  His work is decidedly less aspirational than that of Lee, but they are superlative legal reads as well as insightful profiles of the protagonist, the attorney Guido Guerrieri of Bari, Italy.  "Temporary Perfections" is Carofiglio's latest work to be translated into English.  The translation is assumed to mask better writing in Italian as it defaults to American cliches a few too many times.  So be it.

This engaging mystery has no gratuitous violence, in fact none, and no murders.  How un-American.  There is a mystery, but that is at times beside the point as this first person novel is more about the life of a 45 year old divorced attorney and amateur boxer who maintains a respectable civil law practice amid the chaos and incompetence of the Italian court system while living an independent and at times solitary lifestyle.  It is a low key and satisfying reading experience, not to be found in most libraries but well known here somehow, and this latest came from an Amazon third party seller for 99 cents plus postage, in perfect condition.

Carofiglio's prior four books all had some aspect of social concern such as immigration or people smuggling.  Only tangentially does "Temporary Perfections" have any overt causes to lean on.  One could only see the strength of this book by reading it.  It should be a pleasant and thoughtful surprise to new readers, an intelligent diversion for a night or two.   


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