By the author of Birdsong.
By a strange coincidence I read this in the shadow of Vesuvius; the book starts "Vesuvius was erupting".
The book traces the first 41 years of the life of Pietro in an alphabet of places that are significant to him. These are not, as the rubric referred to in the book implies, places where Pietro has spent a night; they include A=Anzio where his father was injured which led to a meeting with his mother and M=Mons where his grandfather fought. Many of the places are also embedded in other places as reminiscences. However the demands of the form makes the narrative flicker backwards and forwards through time. It becomes difficult to work out key details about Pietro's life; sometimes this is enough to make you keep reading but at other times you are just plain confused. The overall impression (surely the author's intention) is that life is a random jumble of events, some of which have significance far beyond their apparent importance.
It does get you wondering what your biographical place alphabet would be. Here is a first attempt: Athens, Bedford, Cambridge, Downing (?), Eton, France, G, H, I, J, Kingston, L, Malvern, N, O, Paris, Q, Rome, S, T, U, V, Wootton, X, Y, Z. Some of these might need further work!
July 2009, 274 pages
- Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57