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In freiem Fall: Roman by Gianrico Carofiglio
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In freiem Fall: Roman (original 2003; edition 2007)

by Gianrico Carofiglio, Claudia Schmitt (Übersetzer)

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3641229,815 (3.76)3
Member:Stefan_MS
Title:In freiem Fall: Roman
Authors:Gianrico Carofiglio
Other authors:Claudia Schmitt (Übersetzer)
Info:Goldmann Verlag (2007), Gebundene Ausgabe, 224 Seiten
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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A Walk in the Dark by Gianrico Carofiglio (2003)

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English (7)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
second in the series. Italian lawyer, this time taking on case of woman accusing her former boyfriend (rich, son of prominent judge) of stalking and abusing her. Excellent courtroom scenes, as in first book... perhaps not quite as strong as first book... ( )
  DavidO1103 | Jan 18, 2014 |
In Bari in Southern Italy we meet Guido Guerrieri; a forty-something lawyer with a non live-in girlfriend and an introspective approach to life. A policeman friend of Guerrieri’s calls on him one day and brings with him a nun with a story to tell. The story is about Martina, a volunteer who works at the women’s shelter the nun runs. Martina who wants to bring a civil case of assault and battery against her ex-boyfriend who has beaten her multiple times. Two other lawyers have turned down the case because the man accused is the son of a powerful local judge and anyone who takes on the case is risking an end to their own professional career. Partly because he is unable to say no in the presence of the strangely intriguing nun, Guido agrees to take on the case.

At only just over 200 pages (positively tiny in today’s environment) this unassuming little book packs an unexpectedly powerful punch. The author manages to bring something new to the all too frequent tale of an abused woman in a number of subtle ways. Firstly, although Martina’s case is at the centre of the story the woman herself is not. Readers see events through Guido’s eyes and those of Sister Claudia more than they do through Martina’s. This does not diminish her or the grimness of her situation but it does offer a less common perspective. The problems of achieving a positive result in this kind of “he said, she said” case, especially when there is an overarching potential for corruption due to the man’s connections, are starkly drawn and really highlight the difficulties that women in these situations must face. In a fraction of the length of lesser books we get a very real sense of the inner strength it took for Martina to take legal action and the practical difficulties involved in protecting her and obtaining justice. It is terribly moving though sad to be reminded that there is a need for places called women’s shelters the world over.

The other standout feature of the novel is the nicely developed characters, particularly of Guido and Sister Claudia. While not the tortured, loner, alcoholic endemic to crime fiction Guido does have his demons including a strong belief in his own cowardice. His intermittent insomnia, and the late night walks which are his treatment, provide for some touching introspection of the kind that only the wee small hours can bring. They counterbalance nicely Guido the non-corrupt lawyer who must use some creative manoeuvres to bring his cases to successful conclusion against a system in which there is a lot of corruption and nepotism. Sister Claudia, a martial-arts practising nun, has more than her fair share of troubles too and is an interesting character added to this mix.

Given that on several occasions I stopped to re-read sentences or passages just because I liked the way the language sounded I’m proposing that the translation by Howard Curtis is an excellent one though my own knowledge of Italian is far too rudimentary to really know. In fact the only down note to this review is my own annoyance at having been so long in discovering this terrific author. I loved the book’s combination of thoughtful legal procedural and journal of a man’s life and thoughts so much that I’m not even going to complain too much that it made me embarrass myself in public. The ending surprised and angered me (on behalf of the characters not due to any lack of quality in the storytelling) and the several loud sobs I tried (unsuccessfully I think) to pretend were the result of hay fever as I sat on a crowded bus generated furtive glances from my fellow passengers. I highly recommend this book (though perhaps one to be read in the privacy of one’s own home).

My rating 4.5/5 ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
Not as intriguing a storyline as the other books in the series, and definitley not a page-turner. ( )
  VictorTrevor | Feb 10, 2012 |
Rating: 4.9* of five

The Book Report: In the second installment of the Avv. Guido Guerriri legal thriller series, Our Hero has accepted the case of an abused woman who wants to bring civil suit against her battering, stalking ex-lover. Who just happens to be the son of the most powerful criminal judge in the city of Bari. And he didn't get that way by passing out Christmas hams to the needy, if you get my drift. Martina, at considerable risk to herself, wishes to put an end to the charm in her ex's charmed life by making him face publically the harm he's done her; he isn't, unsurprisingly, prepared to let this happen, and he retains the meanest, most sick-making kind of silk-upholstered shit-sack of a lawyer one can imagine. (The author being a judge, I suspect this character is a sarcastic payback on someone or someones he's dealt with in this anti-Mafia trials.)

Cue Guido's Don Quixote music! Saddle up, Sancho Reader, we're going for a tilt at the windmill of privilege, social and societal. Guido hears about the case with aplomb...she's gotta be kidding, so he slapped her around, this isn't a criminal case, c'mon! stalking? what, a man can't walk down a street?...until a combination of a feminist martial artist/nun, a female public prosecutor, and the head of the local deviant crimes unit all singing the same song makes him listen, and re-evaluate. Then they tell him who is alleged to have committed the crime.

Whoa Nelly! Career suicide help line, my name is don't do it, please tell me everything...and by god, Guido does the amazing and the improbable: He learns to accept that male privilege is a mindset, and society doesn't even notice it. (I'd add straight privilege if it was relevant, which it's not here, but it's equally virulent.) He's already sure he wants to take down the son of the local bought judge because he's an old leftist. (Old, hell, he's a puppy of forty.)

And Guido works his most sneaky, ju-jitsu-inspired magic in the trial that ensues. He really gives it a twist this time. So does the author. SUCH a twist, with nuns and cops and lawyers and sleazeballs all enmeshed in a fracas that had me, no exaggeration, gasping and jumping up and down.

My Review: In a paltry 215pp, I lived through the entire range of my emotional reactions to violence. Each of them. In turn, simultaneously, in order of virulence, and finally in catharsis.

I am not a subscriber to the Woman is Saintly Victim school of thought. I do not believe that men are abusers and women victims by nature, despite the crap that infests our fictional bookosphere. The issue of stalking, and its nastier ancillary complexes, is a very real one and a very scary one. The world has mean, nasty, horrible people in it, and by all that's holy, they need to be put away, stopped, found out and exposed. This novel satiated my strong need for that to happen, and it did a brilliant job of it.

The ending, while emotionally intense and not entirely pleasant, came close to being perfect. Close, so close...one event did not happen, and that is my one cavil with the whole thing.

I'm a big fan of the less prurient, more procedural style Carofiglio uses in these books, compared to the confessional, almost pornographic closeness to the dramatis personae most American procedurals use. Don't be surprised if your take on the style changes...from con to pro, but possibly the reverse...in this installment. It's a balancing act, as it always must be, to decide what details to present, what relationships to flesh out, what to suggest and what to explain. Carofiglio makes the most use of suggestion of any crime writer I've found.

Me likey. A lot. ( )
3 vote richardderus | Oct 29, 2011 |
A Walk in the Dark
Gianrico Carofiglio

Second in the Guido Guerrieri of Bari, Italy, series.

Guerrieri takes on a case out of sheer perversity, one he figures he has no chance of winning--that of a woman who is accusing the son of a prominent, politically influential judge of domestic violence. it’s her word against his, she has a history of depression; although Guerrieri has the assistance of a competent public prosecutor who is also an advocate of women’s rights, there is much stacked against Marina.

There is nothing particularly original about this story. There’s no mystery, it is in essence a legal drama. What elevates Carofiglio’s stories above the common is his writing, which is remarkably good, and his characters. Even the latter are not particularly eccentric or even noteworthy, but the way Carofiglio writes about their relationships is thoughtful and interesting. Guerrieri himself continues to be an absorbing figure as he struggles with his own shortcomings. His relationship with Margharita is also told with a sensitivity that is not common in this genre.

Yes, you can read this for the “plot”, although that’s not what draws me to the series; I will continue to read Carofiglio’s books for the way he treats and develops his characters. In addition, there is an authenticity to Carofiglio’s legal courtroom and descriptions that is, in my experience, unique. The author is a public prosecutor in Italy, and he is able to capture the essence of courtroom situations in a way I have never seen before.

Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote Joycepa | Feb 1, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gianrico Carofiglioprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gerritsen, RobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"When Martina accuses her ex-boyfriend - the son of a powerful local judge - of assault and battery, no witnesses can be persuaded to testify on her behalf and one lawyer after another refuses to represent her. Guido Guerrieri knows the case could bring his legal career to a premature and messy end but he cannot resist the appeal of a hopeless cause. Nor deny an attraction to Sister Claudia, the young woman in charge of the shelter where Martina is living, who shares his love of martial arts and his virulent hatred of injustice."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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