Posts Tagged: Empty Space

The Refreshment of Leonardo Sciascia & M. John Harrison

On a Friday afternoon some weeks ago the Guardian published an interview with the Italian writer Andrea Camilleri, an author best known in the UK for the series of detective novels about Salvo Montalbano. In this interview Andrea Camilleri discusses his friendship with fellow Sicilian writer Leonardo Sciascia and how his prose recharges him within a couple of pages. “I call him the electrician Sciascia. What I mean is that, when I feel like my batteries are low, I take up a book by Leonardo, I open it, I read two pages and my batteries are recharged,” says Andrea Camilleri.

The following Saturday I escaped Leicester for a day of rooting around Nottingham with Jenny. There was a trip to a fine vegetarian & vegan cafe, where me and Jenny enjoyed smoked tofu sandwiches, and, later that afternoon, Jenny delighted in vegan cake & ice cream. On the final trip into Waterstones I remembered about Leonardo Sciascia and bought two collections of his novellas. So far the only novella I’ve found time to read is his last published work of fiction, A Simple Story. The translation of Sciascia’s prose is deceptively transparent leaving the complexity to the political and moral interpretation of the stories plot

Last Saturday in the same feature series the Guardian published an interview with M. John Harrison. A writer whose work I admire for the same reason Andrea Camilleri describes his admiration of Sciascia. It is an excellent profile and one that gently complements the two video interviews with M. John Harrison produced recently by Arc.

The interview with Harrison appeared in The Guardian due to the publication of the long awaited novel Empty Space. My copy arrived last Thursday and I have been reading it slowly. In part this is due to a poverty of time, but also so I can prolong my enjoyment the novel. So while I do not wish to comment on the quality of the book yet, having not finished the book, I’m willing to say that it is a recharging experience that’s putting time spent reading Katherine Mansfield & Paul Bowles short stories to a less mercenary use.

It’s also a novel bringing Narborough Road — the road infamous for drink, violence & sex that all cities have — to Space Opera, and that’s something I get behind because I’m not a fucking puritan who hates the excesses of life.

“I call him the electrician Sciascia. What I mean is that, when I feel like my batteries are low, I take up a book by Leonardo, I open it, I read two pages and my batteries are recharged.”

— Andrea Camilleri.