On the death of Camilleri
The Italian bestseller author Andrea Camilleri died on Wednesday in Rome at the age of 93. He wrote more than a hundred books, but it was only in the 1990s, when he was almost 70, that he got his big breakthrough with the creation of the character Inspector Montalbano. The novels were translated into more than 30 languages. Commentators remember an author who had a special relationship with his readers.
Why he was misunderstood by the critics
Camilleri did not write for the critics, columnist Aldo Cazzullo notes with approval in Corriere della Sera:
“He was the last storyteller. An author for the people. And this is difficult to accept in Italy, a country of courtesan intellectuals who are used to writing not for the public - most of whom are illiterates - but for their master, who by turn may be a tyrant, a foreign ruler, the pope or the Duce, the party or a colleague at the academy. In a world of literati who are convinced that the more incomprehensible your writing, the better you are, the true greatness of Camilleri was never going to be recognised. This is why he was less loved by the critics than his readers.”
Crime novel inspector as political mouthpiece
The death of the creator of Inspector Salvo Montalbano is a huge loss for Italy, Le Courrier writes in its obituary.
“The novels, which were written by a former militant communist who was profoundly humanistic and often criticised the centre-left PD party for its lack of ideas, and which in recent years were dictated due to his blindness, often evoked Italy's tragic political situation. Camilleri talked about Montalbano as if he actually existed. Salvo shared many of his ideas, opinions, joys and disappointments. For example the inspector sided with illegal immigrants, fought against the ubiquitous mafia and declared himself ready to hand in his resignation in 2001 after the barbaric behaviour of his 'colleagues' at the G8 summit in Genoa. Yes, Andrea Camilleri will be missed in Italy: culturally and politically.”