I want the reading to be contentious


Massimo Carlotto

Massimo Carlotto

At the End of a Dull Day

One of Italy’s most popular authors and a major exponent of the Mediterranean Noir novel, Carlotto has been compared with many of the most important American hardboiled crime writers.
At the End of a Dull Day is the second novel featuring anti-hero Giorgio Pellegrini.

At the End of a Dull Day is not only the title but also the leitmotiv of your novel. Why is that?

It is the chorus of a song from the 30’s, whose rights were bought by Campari, a famous brand of aperitif. And it’s also this time of day when people have a pre-dinner drink, you can see it on every square in Northern Italy, where part of the novel takes place. Theatres and movie theaters are closing down, but bars, where people gather to drink spritz, are multiplying. You could say that every character in the novel is a « spritz man », which is an aperitif made of Campari or Apérol, prosecco, a slice of orange, and sometimes a bit of lemonade.

Is there a lot of Massimo Carlotto in Giorgio Pellegrini, the awfullest of awful people?

Nothing resembles the author. I used to know real people who are the exact copy of Giorgio Pellegrini, I consider them as enemies, I write about them so that they can be identified.

Did you immediately know you wanted to use first-person narrative?

In The Goodbye Kiss, the first novel featuring Giorgio Pellegrini, I already used a first-person narrative. I wanted to erase any emotional distance between the reader and the character. I want the reading to be contentious. A lot of people end up hating Giorgio Pellegrini, but, as crazy as it might seem, he is a favorite among female readers. Evil always creates dangerous confusions.

Are there always ultimately some big families running schemes between the worlds of business, politics and mafiosos in Italy?

Yes, especially in the Northeast. Nowadays, they’re more powerful in small villages, and less in cities, but as far as banks, industries and information are concerned, they still decide. In Italy, local newspapers and TV channels have an important influential power. Berlusconi drew lessons from this situation.

How meaningful is it for you to write novels?

I like to depict reality and mix it with fiction. All of my present and future novels deal with a precise topic, a repressed story, an investigation. Noir fiction allows me to be an attentive observer of reality and to describe it through a crime story.

Will there be a third novel featuring Giorgio Pellegrini?

Yes, it will come out simultaneously in Italy and in the US in 2015. The backdrop will be about the conflicts created by the financial crisis, which concerns everyone, from the realm of work to criminality.