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  • Reviews for The Silence of the Wave by Gianrico Carofiglio
  • Gianrico Carofiglio |  Review |  The Silence of the Wave
Reviews for The Silence of the Wave by Gianrico Carofiglio
‘Roberto Marias is a Carabinieri marshal in psychiatric treatment in Rome after a breakdown arising from the strains of his work as an undercover narcotics officer. At the doctor's door he meets Emma, also undergoing therapy, and the two warily take the first steps towards a relationship. The narrative of Roberto's progress is punctuated by another story, that of Giacomo, an 11-year-old who dreams of a dog who stands in for his missing father, and a pretty classmate who he senses is in trouble. As the book begins, Roberto is slowly emerging from the fog of confusion and pain to which his professional life has brought him. Over successive bi-weekly sessions with his psychiatrist he becomes able to articulate the strains of having to maintain a false identity and deny his true nature for prolonged periods of time. Each session thus delivers more back story, while the recovery of the protagonist is skilfully conveyed through subtle clues as to his reaction to life around him. This is wholly engrossing, no less so than the small piece of action in real time towards the end of the book. Roberto's story is all the more compelling in that it encompasses numerous phases in his life which build up to convey a picture of the man: the disappearance from his life of his father and his relocation to Italy, his initial performance in the police and the excitement generated by the work, and a detailed outline of his activities as a narc, involving the need to develop a separate personality capable of repugnant behaviour in order to fit in, and the betrayals of those he had befriended, themes previously developed in the film Donnie Brasco, for example. Giacomo's portion also holds the attention, notwithstanding that it is mainly dream sequences. Other people's dreams rank up there with their religious beliefs as the dullest things to hear about, so this speaks volumes about the quality of the writing. However, the two parts have no special resonance, except so far as both Giacomo and Roberto lost a father in early life, and it is only when the link between the two is established, well on in the book, that the boy's dreams are properly understood. Carafiglio's four previous books featuring Guido Guerrieri the defence counsel have proved very popular, and are doubtless informed by his work as a prosecutor specialising in organised crime. Whether Roberto Marias of the Carabinieri will be as well received is to be seen, but The Silence of the Wave is a well-written and engaging exploration of some of the deeper aspects of crime and its prevention.' - Crime Review
‘Admirers of Gianrico Carofiglio's four novels featuring Guido Guerrieri should know that The Silence of the Wave is not another one. It's very different, but just as absorbing and a work of considerable subtlety and depth. Its main character, Roberto Marías, is an undercover policeman off work because of his mental frailty. He now pays weekly visits to a psychiatrist in Rome, where his telltale memories slowly surface. During his period of treatment he meets Emma, a lively and attractive woman with her own problems. Their clumsy burgeoning friendship is conveyed with moving delicacy. The crimes that qualify the novel for the label crime fiction only emerge towards the end, a neat conclusion to highly satisfying read.' Marcel Berlins - The Times
‘Whereas most crime writers rarely do anything more dangerous than sallying forth for cocoa, lawyer-turned-novelist Gianrico Carofiglio is one of that brave band of prosecutors who have been facing down some of the most dangerous criminals in Europe.Formerly a prosecutor in the Adriatic city of Bari, he became adviser to the Italian parliament's anti-Mafia committee. Previous novels have featured his series investigator Guido Guerrieri, advocate in Bari, and explored not only criminality but its effect on those who pursue it. We left Guerrieri on a dark note, drifting through louche bars, struggling with the problem of how those who come into contact with evil can remain undefiled. Now Carofiglio turns the screw in a work whose main character is operating even closer to the criminal underworld. Moral investigation is taken to an even deeper level as he explores the mind of a policeman driven to seek psychiatric help. Roberto, now himself addicted to cocaine, was forced as an undercover detective not only to witness but to participate in the crimes of narcotics gangs. The guilt still haunts him. He can, of course, justify his actions superficially: by posing as a drugs dealer he was able to send many criminals to trial. But can this truly relieve him of the deep involvement that attended his underworld life?Roberto's covert code name was "mongoose", symbolic as an animal that can kill snakes. But the reason a mongoose is deadly is not merely that it can attack and kill with dizzying speed: it has an inbuilt immunity to cobra venom. Roberto comes to realise that he was supreme at the job of bringing down criminals because, like the mongoose, he possessed the same deadly affinity. He came to enjoy theft and drugs. But how far did this affinity take him? Gradually, the more horrific episodes in his past come to light as he scrutinises each for his own degree of participation. The plotting is immaculate. Interspersed with Roberto's accounts of his adult adventures are his dreams of childhood. Into Roberto's wretched world a new theme begins to intrude in the person of Emma, a fellow-patient with whom he scrapes an acquaintance. Gradually secrets in her past are revealed, their relationship deepens, and Roberto begins to emerge from his despair, perceiving the circular nature of experience as he returns to the sea. This is a remarkable piece of work: crime fiction as a profound exploration of the human psyche.' - Independent
‘A précis of this short book does not make it seem like the sort of story I would normally choose to read, being bored by other peoples' dreams and incurious about their outpourings to a shrink. But this time, instead of moving quickly on to the other books in my teetering pile, after a quick look I was hooked. The setting is Rome and the action is nearly all in the mind and memories of Roberto, a senior officer of the Carabinieri who is on leave, physically sickened by his own past actions as an undercover detective. Once a week he visits a psychiatrist and it is mainly in their conversations that the story unfolds. By chance, Roberto meets Emma, another one of the doctor's patients, who is also haunted by guilt. The chapters are punctuated by the dreams of an adolescent boy. The Silence of the Wave's disparate strands are elegantly woven together into a shapely whole by an author who has himself prosecuted organized crime, stood as an Italian senator and won literary prizes. Gianrico Carofiglio has written one of the most impressive and fascinating crime novels of the year.' - Literary Review
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