Shamed and distressed, he returns to Italy, along the way deciding his next project will be to write the libretto for an opera about Princess Diana. Whose name can be anagrammed into Rancid Pansies. His old neighbor Marta is back (her disappearance in the previous novel, Amazing Disgrace, was due to a gig writing a movie score in Hollywood) and agrees to write the opera’s music. Several other characters from the earlier books appear as the hilarious plot unfolds.
I thought this was the most satisfying plot of the three Samper novels, again a farce, but with a tighter story line that really moved along. It may also have been the funniest, although I thought Cooking With Fernet Branca and Amazing Disgrace were also very funny. The scene in which Gerald has a cameo in the opening night of the opera playing Prince Phillip had me laughing out loud. And wishing the BBC would produce a mini series if they haven’t already.
The Samper trilogy were from Europa Editions, and was the thirteenth book in my 2011 Europa Challenge. I was going for fourteen, which was the Ami level. I reached my goal with another story collection, The Woman With the Bouquet by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. I liked the first story in the book, “The Dreamer of Ostend,” a love story with a mystery, in which the narrator isn’t sure what’s real and what’s fiction. And the title piece, which tells the story of a nurse who blossoms into her true self only after a blind patient convinces her she is beautiful.
For the 2012 Europa Challenge I’m aiming for Cafe Luongo Level, which means reading twelve Europa Editions. I have my first of the year, Margherita Dolce Vita by Stefano Benni, checked out of the library and am looking forward to getting started.