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LA Testa Perduta Di Damasceno Monteiro (Italian Edition) (original 1997; edition 2002)

by Antonio Tabucchi

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274441,373 (3.57)34
Member:marinette_otherly
Title:LA Testa Perduta Di Damasceno Monteiro (Italian Edition)
Authors:Antonio Tabucchi
Info:Feltrinelli (2002), Paperback, 239 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:italian

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The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro by Antonio Tabucchi (1997)

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Showing 4 of 4
This literary thriller opens in a gypsy settlement outside of Oporto, Portugal. Manolo, one of the older men in the village, takes his usual early morning walk in the woods, and finds a headless body that was not there the day before. He notifies the Guardia Nacional, the police department in Oporto, and the crime is reported by the local media. Firmino, the crime reporter for O Acontecimento, a sensationalist rag in Lisbon, is sent to interview Manolo and investigate the murder. With the help of a local and well connected owner of a pension, he meets Manolo and a witness to the crime, and discovers that their accounts differ significantly from the ones provided by the Guardia Nacional officers that arrested the young man, who is subsequently identified as Damasceno Monteiro. Firmino is subsequently introduced to Loton, a morbidly obese lawyer and polymath, who comes from a wealthy family but has dedicated his life to representing the downtrodden of Oporto in court. Loton serves as an adviser to Firmino and his investigation, while in turn Firmino helps Loton with the case. The two engage in interesting but occasionally obtuse philosophical discussions about society, the unequal distribution of justice, and the use of torture to maintain and control individuals.

While I didn't enjoy Damasceno Monteiro as much Pereira Declares, Tabucchi's masterpiece, it was a very good mystery novel with interesting characters and a solid plot line. ( )
4 vote kidzdoc | Apr 15, 2012 |
Set in Portugal of the 1990s, The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro was inspired by a real event: the discovery in 1966 of a headless corpse in a park. As it turned out, the dead man had been killed in a police station in Lisbon; his tortured body was later dumped. The novel is at the same time a story of murder and a commentary on several social, political and philosophical issues -- none the least of which is torture and moral decay. And I loved it.

As a crime novel, it's not so much a whodunit or a whydunit ...the answers to these questions are conveyed very close to the beginning. And there's a lot of theoretical discussion going on, so if that's not your thing, you may get very bored very quickly. But if you hang in there, there's definitely a message involved in all of this madness.

I liked the book, and ironically, I lost the same book twice and had to order a new copy -- for a while there The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro had to stay missing until I could replace it. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the importance of literature as a medium for change or social & political awareness.

For a more lengthy review, click here. ( )
  bcquinnsmom | Sep 6, 2011 |
A young journalist is called to investigate a death in a city which is not his own. He encounters a landlady who gives him important clues and contacts to solve the mystery. This is an unusual detective story which is used by the author to comment on police corruption and the role of the press as an agent for change. It is a reflection on individual responsibility to bring about changes in corrupt regimes as well. Philosophical and very rewarding ( )
  alalba | May 9, 2009 |
This is a unique book. An erudite, intellectual murder mystery set in modern day Portugal. Among the main characters are a young tabloid journalist, a renaissance lawyer and defender of the abused, a gypsy, a crooked cop and an ex-madam running a bed and breakfast.

I believe this is enough to wet your appetite.

A fast read that will not dissappoint and will introduce you to a major talent! ( )
1 vote berthirsch | Aug 19, 2006 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Antonio Tabucchiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Patrick, J. C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The Martian met me in the street
and was frightened by the possibility of my being human
How can a being exist, he wondered, who invests
the business of existing with so huge a denial of existence?

Carlos Drummond de Andrade
Dedication
a Antonio Cassese
e a Manolo il Gitano.
First words
Manolo the Gypsy opened his eyes, peered at the dim light creeping through the cracks in his hovel, and got to his feet trying not to make a sound.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0811216047, Paperback)

A literary thriller of heroin rings and headless bodies uncovers social ills and corruption in modern day Portugal, while—as in all of Tabucchi's work—blurring genre boundaries.

Antonio Tabucchi, Italy's premier writer and a best-selling author throughout Europe, draws together Manolo the gypsy, Firmino, a young tabloid journalist with a weakness for Lukács and Vittorini, and Don Fernando, an overweight lawyer with a professed resemblance to the actor Charles Laughton, to solve a murder that leads far up and down Portugal's social ladder.

As the investigation leads deeper into Portugal's power structure, the novel defies expectations, departing from the formulaic twists of a suspense story to consider the moral weight of power and its abuse.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:30 -0400)

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