Sunday 27 December 2009

Canadian Fiction

Finished December 27
The Fallen by Stephen Finucan
This novel is set in Naples, Italy during World War II and centres around a young Canadian lieutenant. Thomas Greaves has been tranferred to a British branch of the security police after an incident. We don't fully understand what has affected him until close to the end of the book. One of Greaves tasks in Naples is to work with a local museum to help protect their collection. He also travels to nearby rural areas to liase with local authorities.
In Naples, the population struggles to find enough to eat and criminal gangs operate using bribery to get heads turned the other way.
Besides Greaves we also see things from the point of view of two museum staff, the elderly curator, Augusto Parente, and his young female assistant, Luisa Gennaro. Another main character is Aldo Cioffi, Parente's nephew, a young man who, though trained as a doctor, does as little as possible in the way of work, and only thinks of himself.
As the characters interact and affect each other's lives, we see how the lines blur between good and bad, between protectors and criminals. This debut novel shows a deep understanding of human nature and is a wonderful read.

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