An extremely thoughtful review of Marcello Fois’ Memory of the Abyss by Thomas Jones in Sunday’s Observer prompts this roundup of sparkling notices. Jones, who read the Italian edition in parallel writes:
Fois combines a remarkable number of different ways of seeing the world, different forms of storytelling, different kinds of language and different narrative voices in this short novel: Memory of the Abyss is by turns epic, fable, love story and thriller; the point of view moves between an omniscient narrator, free indirect style, village gossip, official dispatches and first-person stream of consciousness.
The blood-letting is convincingly Homeric (or at least, reads like many English translations of Homer), and the jokes are funny in the best tradition of blackly comic war novels.
In June, the reviewer for The National, a paper based in the United Arab Emirates, concluded:
As far as legends go, the tale of Samuele Stocchino is one that is likely to make the blood run cold. Hailed as a military hero at the tender age of 16, the shepherd’s son goes on to become one of Sardinia’s most feared bandits.
Bold and deft, it is quite clear that the awards lavished on Fois’ work are well-deserved. Memory of the Abyss will ensure Stocchino’s legacy will survive for some time to come.
In May, Mark Staniforth reviewed in on his (unpronounceable!) ELEUTHEROPHOBIA blog:
Such is Stocchino’s legendary status that a bare factual biography would probably be as impossible as it would be inappropriate. While remaining loosely loyal to Stocchino’s real-life story, Fois makes no apologies for diverting into fiction: ‘What you have read’, he admits candidly in his afterword, ‘is not the truth’.
It’s a fascinating novel, all the better for deeply embedding intself in the unique culture and history of its region, and it really comes into its own in the final third, when Stocchino lives a bloodthirsty fugitive existence, and for all his slaughtering ways, you still find yourself secretly cheering him on from the sidelines.
And Victorian supermodel Lizzy Siddall wasn’t entirely convinced by the novel’s ending, but at least she loved the cover:
Not only is the cover beautiful but the impressionistic tree with its Pan-like figure at the base is an perfect fit to the tone of this fable-like history of Samuele Stocchino.
Memory of the Abyss is available in Hardback