An Ode to Sicily's Andrea Camilleri

Andrea Camilleri was one of the greatest Italian writers of all time. His fictional series “Inspector Montalbano” is now a popular Television show. Camilleri’s books have been translated into more than 15 langauges. The author, who was a magician of words and an amazing story teller, always brought something unsual with every crime novel that he wrote.

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✨Andrea Camilleri 6 September 1925- 17 July 2019.✨ Why am I so attached to the books by Andrea Camilleri?? Because as with most books, these came to me at a time when I most needed them. 👇👇 ~I found a friend in Inspector Montalbano and the Series are more than just crime novels. Based out of Sicily, they capture daily Sicilian life at its best. ~Camilleri was a wizard who wrote intriguing stories where he prioritized food over everything else. Even solving a case! ~A great man with a dry humour that had to be savored slowly as you would savour a cannolo (or two). ~Camilleri left a great legacy behind. His absence to the world of literature is huge. I cannot even imagine as I write this. ~ I'll always treasure his stories that are also made into a TV Series which beautifully use the essence of Sicily. ~ It's astounding that the final of the Montalbano series had already been penned down by him years ago. I guess we'll just have to wait to find out when the translator Stephen Sartarelli publishes it in English. Because I'm a long way to go to read in Italian/Sicilian. ~I'll always remember Camilleri's interviews and wry humor and wit. Rest in peace, Sir.~ ✨Thank you for the opportunity to enjoy and be a part of the world of Inspector Montalbano. ✨

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I rarely delve into author’s lives as the books are somehow more important to me. But with Camilleri, I wanted to know more about him. So I watched the documentary- Montalbano and Me  (with English subtitles too!) that delved into the life of the creator behind the hit series Inspector Montalbano.

The Montalbano series of books are much more than just crime novels. They are about  a way of Sicilian life where food prioritizes over everything else. Even solving a case!

The documentary is shot in his studio in Rome where Camilleri is seen in his typical avatar- holding a cigarette. The entire studio is filled with books and his favorite authors James Joyce and Luigi Pirandello. The one hour documentary covers many aspects of the author’s life, right from his Sicilian upbringing to daily habits, family life, reading, current popularity etc. It is a treat knowing about the enigma who was a household name in Italy and touched the lives of many!

Did you know he took 5 years to write “The King of Girgenti”!

Montalbano and Me

Camilleri, who lived in Rome (he passed away on July 17,2019), was originally from Porto Empedocle in Sicily. He spoke quite extensively about his childhood and especially how he was brought up by women.

After his marriage there was a situation where he had to live together with all the ladies together in one house, including his mother in law! It is obvious Camilleri was in a very family oriented world. As he spoke of intimate details, I felt myself welling up when he spoke of his father dying. I was amazed to know about this man who the world lost. He was so well read, so sorted, intelligent yet so down to earth.

Camilleri wryly points out how how he thinks writing is not a difficult task and is easier than unloading crates -for instance!

Montalbano and Me
Montalbano and Me

Did you know that the final book of the Montalbano series was penned down by him years back!!

Every year one of the Montalbano books is published from the Sicilian to English. I think I have a long wait to reach the last one. But thanks to the translator Stephen Sartarelli who brings us this fantastic piece of literature!

“Without translation, I would be limited to the borders of my own country. The translator is my most important ally. He introduces me to the world.”- Italo Calvino



19 thoughts on “An Ode to Sicily's Andrea Camilleri

  1. I have only read “The Shape of Water” and I enjoyed it.
    I think you would also like the crime novellas by Leonardo Sciascia, also set in Sicily, a bit older, but with more literary ambition. Beautifully written!

  2. I have found that authors usually have usual lives, but it is what they see makes them unusual. They see what we tend to miss most of the times.

  3. I think so it’s the first time that I read about Andrea Camilleri. So his wife died before his mother and mother in law did? That must have been difficult. He is the same age as my grandfather and this generation has a lot to tell! I find him intriguing as well now. 🙂

    1. No his wife is still alive 😛 They were all living together under one roof. Yes very intriguing especially more when you read his books and realize his snarky humor.

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