A Pimp's Notes
Author Giorgio Faletti
It’s 1978. Italy has just been shocked by the kidnapping of the politician Aldo Moro by the left-leaning terrorist group the Red Brigades. In Milan, the upper class continues to amuse itself in luxury restaurants, underground clubs, and cabarets. This is Bravo’s milieu. Enigmatic and cynical, Bravo makes his living catering to the tastes, fantasies, and fetishes of the wealthy and depraved. When the mysterious Carla enters his life, what begins as a clandestine romance quickly becomes a nightmare that will transform Bravo into a man wanted by the police, by organized crime, and even by the Red Brigades. As the web around him tightens, Bravo will be forced to confront the violence of the times in which he lives as well as his own connections to the political and criminal networks that control contemporary Italy.
Review: A Pimp's Notes contains the classic murky veil of noir, but in this case, there is not a traditional lead detective, but rather features, Bravo, the castrated pimp who is forced to unravel his own mystery. Where some readers might find Faletti's approach lethargic for a suspense novel, I'd argue that his style enriches the genre, making a unique piece of work that firstly, is literary and secondarily, suspenseful noir. Even though, by developing the characters and backgrounds slows down the plot and action, in the end, it is worth it and lends to all the twists that come. You might think you know where this story is going, but there are a few surprises that make sense without being revealed too early. The plot-line is web-like verses the straight-line plot format. As a reader, I enjoy this design much more and will take a bit of pacing to get the ultimate pay off of thematic depth. Several aspects can be discussed and are thought-provoking from Bravo's love of puzzles, to mutilation verse traditional beauty, sexuality, gender, politics, corruption, exploitation, social status, power struggles, occupation in society, what defines a person and on and on...On top of it, you get a well-constructed mystery plot with murder, mayhem, confusion and escape. A Pimp's Notes is a novel to be read, not rushed. A thinking reader's suspense novel that ups the ante by pulling you underground to a place that is long gone, but also presently relevant. I read the translated version and feel that it was excellent. However, I would have no idea of something was lost in the conversion since my Italian is shamefully lacking.
*ARC provided by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, translated copy, courtesy of Amazon Vine