Temporary Perfections, by Gianrico Carofiglio


Esta entrada es bilingüe. Desplazarse por la ventana hacia abajo para ver la versión en castellano.

Translated by Anthony Shugaar, 2011. First published in Italian as La perfezione provvisorie by Sellerio editore, Palermo, 2010. First published in the United Kingdom in 2011 by Bitter Lemon Press. 284 pages. ISBN: 978-1-904738-72-5.

Guido Guerrieri is going through his midlife crisis. At forty-five and divorced, he fights his melancholy by hitting and talking to Mister Bag, his old and battered punching bag, and by taking long midnight strolls. A lawyer at Bari, he has just move into a new office. Maria Teresa, after earning her law degree has been moved up from secretary to apprentice lawyer and Pasquale Macina, a gentleman in his sixties, has taken over her secretarial duties. He has also hired Consuelo, a friend’s daughter, who has just passed the bar and wants to become a criminal lawyer. In just a few month his law firm has grown from a staff of two to a crowd of four.

When the story opens he has just received an innocent phone call from an old university friend, a civil lawyer called Sabino Fornelli. Fornelli wants to see him about ‘a sensitive and urgent matter’. Manuela Ferraro, the twenty-two year old daughter of his clients Signore and Signora Ferraro disappeared six month ago. But before the case is closed her parents want to find out if there are any leads that the prosecutors or the Carabinieri might have overlooked. Reluctantly, Guerrieri agrees to make some inquiries, not expecting to find anything new in the case. Guerrieri feels like the hard-boiled detective character in one of those cheap mystery novels.

During one of his midnight strolls. Guerrieri ends up in Chelsea Hotel No. 2, a gay bar owned by a former client, an ex-porno star and former high class prostitute called Nadia with whom he will hold long conversations about their favourite films. Guerrieri is a reflective type whose thoughts often brings him memories of his past.

As the plot unfolds Guerrieri will maintain informal conversations with some of Manuela’s friends. In particular he will feel uncomfortable but sexually attracted to Manuela’s best friend, Caterina.

Temporary Perfections is the fourth novel in the series featuring Bari lawyer Guido Guerrieri. The story is told in the first person by Guerrieri himself. The style, simple and straightforward, is peppered with good doses of wit and humour. I found it hard not to empathize with Guerrieri. The plot is loaded with very credible characters and although the crime plays a secondary role, Carofiglio has found a fully satisfactory solution. Clearly a five stars book, in my opinion.

Bitter Lemon Press

Gianrico Carofiglio official website (in Italian)

Temporary Perfections has been reviewed by Glenn at International Noir Fiction and The Bookbag,

My review of Testigo Involuntario (Involuntary Witness) de Gianrico Carofiglio

Las perfecciones provisionales de Gianrico Carofiglio

Guido Guerrieri está pasando por su crisis de la mediana edad. A los cuarenta y cinco años y divorciado, combate su melancolía golpeando y hablando con el Señor Saco, su viejo y maltratado saco de boxeo, y dando largos paseos a medianoche. El es un abogado de Bari, que acaba de mudarse a una nueva oficina. María Teresa, después de obtener su licenciatura en Derecho ha pasado de secretaria a pasante de abogado y Pasquale Macina, un caballero de unos sesenta años, ha asumido sus funciones de secretaria. También ha contratado a Consuelo, la hija de un amigo, que acaba de pasar el examen de abogado y quiere especializarse en derecho penal. En tan sólo unos meses su firma de abogados ha pasado de tener una plantilla de dos a una multitud de cuatro.

La historia comienza cuando acaba de recibir una inocente llamada telefónica de un antiguo amigo de la facultad, un abogado civil llamado Sabino Fornelli. Fornelli quiere verlo sobre “un asunto delicado y urgente“. Manuela Ferraro, la hija de veintidós años de edad de sus clientes el Señor y la Señora Ferraro desapareció hace seis meses. Antes de que el caso quede cerrado definitivamente sus padres quieren saber si existe alguna pista o indicio que la fiscalía o los Carabinieri podrían haber pasado por alto. A regañadientes, Guerrieri se compromete a hacer algunas averiguaciones, aunque no espera encontrar nada nuevo. Guerrieri se siente como el personaje del detective duro en una novela barata de misterio.

Durante uno de sus paseos nocturnos. Guerrieri entra en el Chelsea Hotel No. 2, un bar gay propiedad de una antigua cliente suya, una ex-estrella de cine porno y antigua prostituta de clase alta, llamada Nadia, con quien mantendrá largas conversaciones sobre sus películas favoritas. Guerrieri es un tipo reflexivo, cuyos pensamientos a menudo le traen recuerdos de su pasado.

A medida que la trama se desarrolla Guerrieri mantendrá conversaciones informales con algunos amigos de Manuela. En particular, se sentirá incómodo, pero sexualmente atraído por Caterina, la mejor amiga de Manuela.

Las perfecciones provisionales es la cuarta novela de la serie protagonizada por el abogado Guido Guerrieri de Bari. La historia está contada en primera persona por el propio Guerrieri. El estilo, sencillo y directo, está salpicado con buenas dosis de ingenio y de humor. Me resulta difícil no simpatizar con Guerrieri. La trama está llena de personajes muy creíbles. Y aunque el crimen juega un papel secundario, Carofiglio ha encontrado una solución plenamente satisfactoria. Claramente, en mi opinión, este libro se merece cinco estrellas.

La esfera de los libros

Reseña en Qué leer

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11 Responses to Temporary Perfections, by Gianrico Carofiglio

  1. José Ignacio – Thanks for this fine review. I know exactly what you mean about the crime plot almost taking second place to the characters in a novel. If the characters are credible, as you say, that in itself can keep the reader involved. I’m glad you enjoyed this one so much.

  2. Maxine says:

    Nice review, Jose Ignacio. I just finished this book (review will be up in a few days). I liked the digressive quality of it for some of it, but unfortunately there was an element that I always hate and meant I ultimately didn’t like the book. I agree that the “mystery” was barely that, or the “investigation” . It was moving, but not really very believable (and hardly any aspects were actually followed, only a very minimal number…which just happened to lead to the solution….. via “accidentally remembering something that the person forgot to mention previously” which is not exactly clever plotting – but very common in crime novels!).

  3. Bill Selnes says:

    Jose Ignacio: Thanks for the review. I am going to have to find this book when I go shopping.

  4. A fine review. And I think we all need a Mister Bag now and then :)
    I must get round to more of those tempting Italian books. Perhaps next year, when my TBR will be practically empty ;)

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