Thursday, 30 July 2009
in which i do not conquer a new medium
(But things are fine.) I've just got back from the Richard Bacon standing in for Simon Mayo book panel. I had a really good time, and was well impressed at how efficient and casual everyone was, wandering in and out, juggling x ongoing stories, pottering into the studio to chat about the traffic, etc. I put a lot of effort into seeming similarly sang froid.
You can hear the podcast on iTunes, or you can go and get it here. If you want to. The reviewers (Tony Bradman has written more than ninety books more than I have; Tim Bowler has won the Carnegie Medal; Helen Dunning seemed from overhearing to have an important role at half of all book festivals) were as incredibly nice before the show as during it. For obvious reasons, I formed a very positive impression of them.
I had lots of things to say about The Monster of Florence, which was the other book discussed, and which I didn't get time to review. It's by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi. The first half is about a serial killer; the second half is about the investigation, which is still ongoing twenty years later, and which is a black, Kafkaesque farce of conspirasoid ravings and official incompetence that casts a pretty scary light on some bits of modern Italy and makes you worry for Amanda Knox, who is being investigated by one of the horrifyingly crazy investigators.
It's also about the fragility and vital importance of independent journalism, which is something we should all remember, kids, when we ask the internet to give us stuff for free. Non-Italian papers lazily swallowing the official line are put to shame by Spezi's passionate determination to ridicule the ridiculous. I'm not a fan of true crime, but this feels like a really important story.