The Last of the Vostyachs won two literary prizes in Italy: The Premio Campiello and The Premio Stresa. As a child, Ivan and his father work as forced labourers in a mine in Siberia, the father having committed some minor offence against the regime. Ivan’s father is then murdered in front of his young son, after which Ivan – who is a Vostyach, an imaginary ethnic group of whose language he is the last remaining speaker – is struck dumb by what he has witnessed. Some twenty years later the guards desert their posts and Ivan walks free, together with the other inmates. Guided by some mysterious power, he returns to the region he originally came from... A 'genius' Helsinki mystery with a touch of The Killing. So, we have: 1. An intellectual puzzle. 2. A wild man of nature adrift in a big city. 3. A policier set near the Arctic Circle. (If that alone doesn't make you put down your copies of Fifty Shades of Whatever then I despair. It has that Killingesque atmosphere.) 4. Magic, and a sense of the immensity of the primeval universe. 5. An unmistakable dash of humour, even when your nerves are being shredded. 6. Wolves, and a Siberian tiger, let loose from a zoo. 7. A happy ending against all odds. And 8. All hanging together. When I reviewed Grammar, I edged towards using the word "genius" to describe Marani. I'm doing so again now. " Nick Lezard's Choice in The Guardian
About Diego Marani
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Published September 11, 2013
by Dedalus Limited.
Literature & Fiction.