Friday, February 2, 2024

The Lover of No Fixed Abode by Carlo Fruttero & Franco Lucentini

Happy Friday! Today I'm a stop on the Random Things tour for The Lover of No Fixed Abode by Carlo Fruttero and Franco Lucentini, translated by Gregory Dowling.

A nameless narrator who works as a scout for auction houses and what seems at first to be a simple instance of paths crossing begins this cozy-ish mystery set in 80s Italy. 

A tour guide. A quiet, unassuming man who might be much more than he seems piques the interest of the narrator. Her thoughts gravitate towards him even when they have separated. But soon they are reunited. And thus kicks off a three-day affair as well as a mystery surrounding the man, our narrator, art, and Venice itself. 

This is really kind of a hard book to sum up. It's very character and setting driven, rather than plot driven. Though there is a plot. And, as the translator notes, the authors are well-known for their mysteries. But this one, apparently their most successful, is quieter than the others. 

And a quiet read it is indeed. 

Lover of No Fixed Abode is perfect for fans of quieter mysteries. It's also perfect for armchair travelers, and fans of period stories (though I am loathe to include the 80s in "period" considering I was born in that decade!). 

It's also a study, I think, in what a great translator can do. And I know that's not the point of a review, but the translator is so key to opening up works to audiences. They can either pull us in, or turn us off. And a great translator always strives to stay true to the author's original story, voice, tone...everything. 

Which seems to be something Dowling has taken great pains to do, especially considering the authors have both passed away.

I have never been to Venice. So I certainly never experienced it at the time the story is set, but the authors have truly created a stunning portrayal of the setting that will stick with readers and potentially leave them yearning for a vacation of a sort that they will soon realize is only possible in the pages of a book!