Last Train from Liguria

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Last Train from Liguria by Christine Dwyer Hickey (Paperback, ) for sale online | eBay

Sickness is a kind of inheritance. Dwyer Hickey builds the book slowly, stirring layers of the past into the mix, so that a killing that happened in Dublin at the outset of the novel's narrative becomes an essential element of the plot. Perhaps a little implausibly, the killer has fled to southern Italy - but you are willing to meet the author halfway when required, for the spellbinding acuity of her language.

When she writes about the Mediterranean light and the food and the worldview, about the people's "constant ability to be enchanted - unlike the English, who so often need to be persuaded" - you feel you are crossing a square in Palermo in the company of someone who knows its every secret.

Everyone "has something to sell - lavender punnet, rosary beads, bags of cherries". But you sense that what has been sold to Bella will cost dearly. When the husband of the enigmatic Signora Lami dies, their son, Allesandro, is sent with troubled Bella to the wonderfully conveyed town of Bordighera. Here they fall in with a strange music teacher, Maestro Edward, and the remarkably observed shifts in this triangle of loss and yearning are never once overwritten. Dwyer Hickey's gift for lyricism is scrupulously deployed, but she is careful never to sink her characters by describing them too richly: it is her great skill to stand out of their way.


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This would be a solid piece of work if it had settled for the relative safety of the historical novel; the book's cinematic capaciousness and striking confidence would have made it an impressively page-turning read. What makes it darker and stranger is its framing character, Anna, a woman of Italian descent living in Dublin in , where "the lazy brass music of Coronation Street from the telly" is about as Joycean as things ever get.

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Last Train from Liguria by Christine Dwyer Hickey

Jez - posts. Jimmy - 1 post. Joan - 61 posts. Joe - 57 posts. Judy - 5 posts. Kathy - 10 posts. Katie - 22 posts. Kelli - 1 post. Laura - 17 posts. Lora - 34 posts.


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