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  • You are here: Home | Black & Blue: An Introduction to Mediterranean Noir
Black & Blue: An Introduction to Mediterranean Noir



Europa Editions


Michael Reynolds

Sandro Ferri

Tobias Jones

THE BLUE AND THE BLACK (read excerpt)
Jean-Claude Izzo

Howard Curtis

Massimo Carlotto

Brian Oliver

Lawrence Venuti





by Michael Reynolds

As we assemble the various elements of this Introduction to Mediterranean Noir in Rome, Italy, the streets of Paris are ablaze and the entire French nation seems like a powder keg ready to blow. Two nights ago, over a thousand automobiles were burned to a cinder on the outskirts of the city, ten policemen were shot, hundreds of schools, shops, and post offices and one McDonald’s restaurant were destroyed, a pensioner was murdered and over one hundred young men were arrested. The trouble started in the banlieue, Europe’s most infamous suburban ghettoes, situated on the periphery of Europe’s most sophisticated capital. But it’s moving closer to the middle of Paris, to the elegant neighborhoods of the well-off and the well-meaning, and fast spreading to almost a dozen other provincial capitals in France. The riots were sparked ten days ago when two French youths returning from a soccer match fled a police check and hid behind a transformer at an electrical substation. They were electrocuted to death. A third youth was seriously injured. Friends and family say the three boys had done nothing wrong. They weren’t troublemakers, despite having grown up in a neighborhood where many young men become precisely that. Those interviewed also said they understood precisely why three teenagers with nothing to hide would run from the law: in these neighborhoods there is no love lost between police and the community they are supposed to protect.

An old man who dares pass judgment on the young risks appearing ridiculous, at best. Likewise, those of us who feel dismay at youths who would run from the police to their deaths, those of us who cannot understand the reasons for this week’s ferocious and sudden outbreak of violent rage, risk appearing ridiculously blind to the social contexts that give birth to this unrest and ridiculously sedated by the good fortune our birth and our social circumstances have afforded us. Yet the questions, the dismay, the incomprehension remain; we find ourselves wishing there was someone, anyone, who could explain the whys and the wherefores to us. Not glib journalists hungry for the next story. Not the inevitable assortment of experts who make a career out of commenting on other people’s misfortune. Certainly not the politicians. Someone who might be able to help us really feel the forces at work in this situation and others like it. Someone who can explain if and why we are implicated in all of this. Someone who, with tenderness and compassion, with love, and most of all, with authority and authenticity, is able to shed light on the dark corners of our modern cities: Paris, Los Angeles, London, Johannesburg, Berlin, Marseilles, Tel Aviv . . . Someone who is not satisfied simply to describe but is also willing to go out on a limb and suggest possible solutions. From all accounts, Jean-Claude Izzo was this kind of person.

Izzo’s death in 2000 left a hole in the hearts of those who knew and loved him, left his beloved Marseilles in mourning, and left the literary genre that his work helped to define, Mediterranean Noir, without its champion. But it also left us without a voice, a figure, whose presence could have helped us to understand what is happening now in France and to understand where the alternative to this kind of hatred and resentment lies. Fortunately, when he left us, Izzo also left behind a handful of novels, a collection of short stories and many journalistic articles that endure in his absence. One thing is evident in this body of work: Izzo cherishes his personal liberty and he is willing to defend the liberty of others; he is disappointed (repeatedly) by justice systems that seem to have lost touch completely with the ideal of equality; but what any reader of Izzo cannot ignore is that far more than Equality and Liberty, those two voracious and defiant ideals to which we pay an inordinate amount of lip service, Izzo unwaveringly stresses Fraternity.

Fraternità: far more (or far less) than an ideal, far more difficult to codify and to define than its revolutionary sisters, near impossible to guarantee. Without Fraternity, however, Liberty and Equality cannot coexist. Without Fraternity not one of our pretty societies will survive. Without Fraternity, we become one another’s enemies, full of hate or indifference for The Other. We return to the jungle and the state of animals, or worse. We conclude our conversation with the universe and the last thing we see before the curtain closes on our civilization are the disfigured faces of those who hate us and whom we hate.

That Izzo knew what Fraternity was, and knew its importance for our contemporary ethnically and socio-economically mixed societies, is evident in the passage from Solea cited by Massimo Carlotto in his Eulogy for Jean-Claude Izzo:

It was good to be in Hassan’s bar. There were no barriers of age, sex, skin color, or class among the regulars. We were all friends. Whoever came there to drink a pastis sure as hell didn’t vote for the Front National. And they never had, not once, not like some others I knew . . . Friendship mixed with the smell of anisette and filled the place.

That Izzo’s feelings of fraternity for others was repaid him is evident in another episode, once more recounted by Carlotto. During the days Izzo spent in hospital before his death, Marseilles was strangely and uncharacteristically quiet. Momentarily subdued. Every bookshop in town (every last one!) filled its display windows with Izzo’s books. “Marseilles was rooting for its noirist,” writes Carlotto with characteristic understatement.

This Fraternity, or “solidarity,” to use the word Izzo himself preferred for what he (or his literary persona) found in Hassan’s Bar, was his truth. A truth hard-won but precisely for this reason, solid and sure. When he turned his talent to novel writing, the genre he chose was Mediterranean Noir because Mediterranean Noir, according to Izzo and many of his colleagues, is the literature of truth. A literature of truth, actuality, and “investigation.” Before and after Izzo, many writers have helped to formulate, to develop and to consolidate this remarkable and important movement. Edizioni E/O publisher, Sandro Ferri, traces the movement’s genealogy, long gestation, birth and development in his article, Towards A History of Mediterranean Noir. He explains how after many years of growth, Mediterranean Noir reached maturity with Jean-Claude Izzo. His death was like a shot in the stomach of the Mediterranean Noir movement. But it has recovered, it is growing stronger, winning more adherents, becoming even more popular than in Izzo’s day. And as a literature of “social inquiry” it is becoming increasingly important, and extending its influence beyond its primary function as literary entertainment.

Despite the successes of Mediterranean Noir and its enormous popularity and importance in Europe, the movement is largely unknown outside continental Europe. Partly, this is because of the difficulties of translation and the market forces that discourage the publication of fiction in translation. Partly, it is because we live in an age in which we no longer take a real interest in each other’s literary or artistic movements. If we read books, we are content if they simply manage to entertain us and if they are a good read. We couldn’t really care less about the context from which they emerge, or the literary movements to which their authors belong (or to which they refuse to belong). We don’t believe in literary movements anymore. And we aren’t interested in what authors have to say beyond what they say in their books. We haven’t got the time.

Common wisdom, at least, goes something like this.

This Introduction to Mediterranean Noir is a wager: we are betting on the possibility that things are not quite so black and white. We have gathered together half a dozen short articles dealing with the topic of Mediterranean Noir in the hope that these writings will bring readers closer to the many important authors whose works belong to this genre. The authors themselves––Massimo Carlotto, Carlo Lucarelli, Maurizio Braucci, Yasmina Khadra, Andreu Martin, Petros Markaris, Jean-Claude Izzo, and others––have something to offer readers from places outside of the Mediterranean basin. Of this we are certain. And it is not only a better understanding and appreciation of the contexts in which this genre was born. Crime––both the petty kind and the large-scale kind that often goes under the guise of legitimate activity––is not the privileged possession of Mediterranean countries. Crime exists. Everywhere. Perhaps what makes it different in the Mediterranean, as a quick look at the titles of the articles in this publication will make obvious, is that here it is also saturated with color. Traditional noir, both the North American and the Northern European variety, is colored grey. The blacks and browns of the northern metropolises. The muted tweeds of a Sherlock Holmes. The grays of film noir and cities cloaked in heavy, dank fogs. Mediterranean Noir deals in color. The other face of the violent, criminal Mediterranean is the vibrant, sun-drenched Mediterranean. The colors of Mediterranean Noir are bright, almost gaudy: yellows, reds, ochres, and above all blue. Or else white. Light itself. The source of all color. Like the brilliant white sunlight that blinds Mersault just as he is about to pull the trigger in the book Izzo considers the true precursor of contemporary Mediterranean Noir, Albert Camus’s The Outsider.

Yes, crime exists. Here. There. Crime exists. This literature going under the name of Mediterranean Noir has found the courage to confront broad, global themes through an “investigation” of international crime and its local manifestations. But it has done so without ignoring real lives, the individual, the human. We are still inside Hassan’s Bar. Outside, the streets are on fire. Outside, someone, or something we hardly recognize has taken control of the city. Outside . . . But that is outside. Inside, there is a pastis waiting for us, there’s a fight breaking out in the corner that’ll be resolved to the satisfaction of everyone involved with a round of drinks on the house, and Jean-Claude Izzo is leaning against the bar with a cigarette hanging from his mouth and that ever attentive look in his eyes.

November 2005


by Sandro Ferri

Translated from the Italian by Michael Reynolds

As Jean-Claude Izzo remarks , in the beginning there is the Bible: the first book born on the shores of the Mediterranean, the world’s first great anthology of violent crime stories. From the outset, from Cain’s murder of this brother Abel, this encyclopedic Book of books makes it clear that the history of this sea and the peoples who live on its shores is a history of violence, fratricide, bloodthirsty sackings, abuses of power, lootings and rape. Crime exists. The reasons for its existence are manifold. They reside deep within the soul of man. The Bible tells us that our story begins with a homicide, is followed by others, and others still . . .
Like Cain’s heart, the history of the Mediterranean is black.

Then, there are two further extraordinary Noir anthologies: The Iliad and The Odyssey. Both are vast and variegated collections of atrocious crimes. The Iliad glorifies the Greeks’ fierce attack on the Trojans for the control of trade routes. Or, if it is more to the reader’s tastes, it sings the epic tale of Greek heroes in their valorous enterprise to vindicate Paris’s kidnapping of Helen.

The Odyssey, on the other hand, is principally a travel book whose hero wants nothing more than to return home. But his journey is protracted by an inordinate number of intrigues and murders.

Bringing to bear the immense power of universal archetypes, all of the Greek tragedies confirm once more that the history of the Mediterranean, of its people and its gods, of its dynasties and its kings, is written in blood.
In light of this, Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex may rightly be considered the world’s first Noir novel. In a public letter appearing in 1995 in the magazine les Temps Modernes, Patrick Raynal, director of the world’s most famous Noir fiction list, Gallimard’s Série Noire, affirmed precisely this:

If we can broadly define noir writing, noir inspiration, as a way of looking at the world, at the dark, opaque, criminal side of the world, shot through with the intense feeling of fatality we carry within us due to the fact that the only thing we know for certain is that we are going to die, then Oedipus Rex can indeed be said to be the first noir novel.

In a brief essay published in the Nuovel Observateur in 1999, another Frenchman, master of the Mediterranean Noir novel Jean-Claude Izzo, reminds us that Raynal had “the courage or, in some people’s opinion, the impudence,” to publish a reinterpretation of Oedipus Rex in his Série Noire, a reinterpretation that struck a decidedly “hard-boiled” note.  Izzo seconds Raynard’s choice: “The Mediterranean noir novel,” he writes, “is the fatalistic acceptance of the drama that has been weighing upon us since a man first murdered his brother somewhere on the shores of this sea.”

The same elements that characterize these “criminal” interpretations of the classic Greek tragedies, interpretations that put the struggle for power in the foreground, can be found in the novels of the German author, Christa Wolf, particularly in her rewritings of the Greek classics, Cassandra and Medea. In these works, Wolf tells us that crime and violence are cornerstones of Mediterranean civilization. Medea and Cassandra “investigate” their situations and their worlds and discover that at the bottom of it all there exist crime and criminals.

The Mediterranean Noir novel, therefore, represents a search for truth in places characterized by fratricidal violence; but also by beauty. While these novels offer us a vision of the dark side, the underbelly of society, their settings are invariably places that are caressed by bright sunshine, by blue skies and clear waters.

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by Tobias Jones

In Padua, on 20 January 1976, a young girl called Margherita Magello was repeatedly stabbed and left for dead. She was discovered by Massimo Carlotto, a 19-year-old student radical and member of Lotta Continua, who tried to save her, and, in doing so, got covered in her blood. She died, he was arrested and, a pawn in the struggle between Lotta Continua and the police, was tried for her murder. Just before sentence was pronounced, his lawyer advised him to run. He escaped to Paris and ended up in Mexico, where, in 1985, he was betrayed by a Mexican lawyer and extradited to Italy. Retried, he was found guilty and imprisoned until, in 1993, he was pardoned by the president.

Carlotto is now almost 50, a good-looking, beefy man, normally photographed with a cigar poking out from greying stubble. Last year a film about his life called Il Fuggiasco (“The Fugitive”) came out in Italy. Since his release, Carlotto has reinvented himself as a writer of hugely popular thrillers. More than merely hard-boiled, his novels are sexy, seedy, cynical and nihilistic, but with moments of idealism. Thanks in part to Carlotto, noir has become the boom genre of Italian publishing. Einaudi have introduced two new imprints, Stile libero and Stile libero Noir. The Sicilian publisher Sellerio is permanently at the top of the bestseller lists thanks to the octogenarian Andrea Camilleri, whose books have also been stylishly adapted for television. Carlo Lucarelli––co-editor of Stile libero Noir and another bestselling writer of thrillers––fronts a TV programme about real murder cases.

The Italian public seem permanently hungry for “gialli.” In bookshops you find shelf on shelf of Follett and Forsyth translations, as well as Italian thrillers. And when it comes to real-life gialli, practically every news programme announces “a gripping new thriller unravelling” somewhere. Sub judice is ignored as bloodstains, bullet holes and murder weapons are shown, and reporters chase mourning mothers down the street, microphone in hand. As Hitchcock once said, “television has brought murder back into the home––where it belongs.”

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by Jean-Claude Izzo

Translated from the French by Howard Curtis
In the beginning is The Book. And that moment in which Cain kills his brother Abel. In the blood of this fratricide, the Mediterranean gives us the first noir novel.

There may well have been other murders before this, but this one is written down, and establishes forever the singular problem of mankind: that crime is the driving force which, over the centuries, will govern relationships between people. Whoever they are. Masters or servants. Princes or emperors. Free men or slaves. In the beginning, indeed, all the motives for murder already existed. Envy, jealousy.  Desire, fear. Money. Power. Hatred. Hatred of others. Hatred of the world.

That is the basis of all the Greek tragedies. In case we had forgotten, the chutzpah of Patrick Raynal, editor of [Gallimard’s. Ed.] Série noire, was there to remind us. When he published Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex in his famous series, some in the narrow circles of the publishing world thought he was joking. But he wasn’t. Far from it.

It was an academic, Didier Malmaison, who adapted the Greek text into a Série noire novel. This magnificent book, which opens with a classic noir scene––a stranger arrives in town, everyone watches him, closing their doors and windows as he passes, he crosses the street––can be read in one sitting. Like a real crime novel.  “Well, if you look at it that way . . . ” many teachers were forced to admit. Indeed, if you look at it that way, the line of descent from Greek tragedy to the noir novel becomes obvious. In Oedipus we witness a search for the truth of a man’s life. In the noir novel, beginning with the Americans, the same process is developed, in parallel with an investigation into the social conditions of contemporary man, the modern form of fate. This is very clear in the works of David Goodis and Jim Thompson, who both deal with the tragedy of modern societies.

In a 1995 interview appearing in the review Les Temps modernes, Patrick Raynal explained this lineage:

If we can broadly define noir writing, noir inspiration, as a way of looking at the world, at the dark, opaque, criminal side of the world, shot through with the intense feeling of fatality we carry within us due to the fact that the only thing we know for certain is that we are going to die, then Oedipus can indeed be said to be the first noir novel.

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by Massimo Carlotto

Translated from the Italian by Michael Reynolds

Recalling the work and the person of Jean-Claude Izzo will forever remain painful for those who knew him. Izzo was first and foremost a good person. It was impossible not to feel warmth for that slight man who always had an attentive, curious look in his eyes and a cigarette in his mouth. I met him in 1995, in Chambery, during the Festival du Premier Roman. Izzo was there to present Total Chaos (Total Keops). I bought the book because its author stirred my interest: he seemed a little detached in many of those cultural gatherings, as if faintly annoyed by them, as he was most certainly annoyed by the quality of food and wine offered by the organizers. I read his book traveling between Chambery and Turin, where the Salone del Libro was underway. I found it a superb, innovative book, an exemplar in a genre that was finally starting to establish itself here in Italy. I recommended it to my publishers. And not long after Izzo arrived in Italy. A few sporadic meetings later, I went to Marseilles for a conference. Izzo was not there. He was in hospital. Everyone knew how serious his illness was. Marseilles was rooting for its Noirist. Every bookshop in town filled its display windows with Izzo’s books. Then, on January 26, Jean-Claude left us. He wasn’t even fifty-five. He left us with many fond memories and several extraordinary novels that convincingly delineated the current now known as “Mediterranean Noir.”

Autodidact, son of immigrant parents, his father a barman from Naples, his mother a Spanish seamstress. After lengthy battles as a leftwing journalist, having already written for film and television, and author of numerous essays, Izzo decided to take as stab at noir, penning his Marseilles trilogy, Total Chaos, Chourmo and Solea. The protagonist: Fabio Montale; a cop.

Montale, son of immigrant parents, like Izzo, and child of the interethnic mix that is Marseilles, defiantly stakes out his ground in the city that gave birth to the Fronte Nazionale . In Solea, Izzo writes:

It was good to be in Hassan’s bar. There were no barriers of age, sex, skin color, or class among the regulars. We were all friends. Whoever came there to drink a pastis sure as hell didn’t vote for the Front National. And they never had, not once, not like some others I knew. Here, in this bar, every single one of us knew why we were from Marseilles and not some other place, why we lived in Marseilles and not some other place. Friendship mixed with the smell of anise and filled the place. We communicated our feelings for one another with a single look. A look that took in our fathers’ exile. It was reassuring. We had nothing to lose. We had already lost everything.

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Interview with Massimo Carlotto by Brian Oliver

In prison for a murder he didn’t commit, Massimo Carlotto found the true-life material for his explicit crime novels that go to the corrupt heart of Italy.

You couldn’t make it up. A schoolboy starts thinking about politics at a very young age, joins the local boy scouts and turns ultra-left. In Padova, northeast Italy, in the late 1960s, the boy scouts were a hotbed of radicalism.

By the age of thirteen, he is active in the Lotta Continua, a left-wing group, and becomes a reporter for its weekly newspaper. At 19, during Italy’s “years of lead,” when political tensions were at their highest, he witnesses a brutal murder. Margherita Magello, a 25-year-old student, is stabbed 59 times and our teenager, covered in blood from trying to save her, runs to fetch the police. They arrest him and accuse him of the killing. Three years later, after he has been acquitted, retried and convicted––there is no double jeopardy in Italian law––he is sentenced to 18 years. He goes on the run to France, then Mexico City.
For six years, he is sheltered, fed and educated by political activists before giving himself up back in Italy. He is beaten, tortured and spends the next seven years in prison, mostly in maximum security in Milan, Turin and Padova, with some of the country’s most hardened criminals.

His battle with the courts becomes one of the most famous cases in Italian law: eighty judges and magistrates are involved; he is tried and retried eleven times; the case drags on for eighteen years; his legal paperwork weighs ninety-six kilos. Eventually, after an international campaign, a Scotland Yard expert says the forensic procedures used in the case are twenty years out of date and the President of Italy pardons him.

As a free man, he turns to writing. After an autobiography, newspaper articles, essays, and plays, he turns to crime writing, inventing a character based on himself called the “Alligator,” an unlicensed investigator who drinks too much calvados and drives a Skoda.

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The Precursors

Homer, The Iliad, Robert Fitzgerald (Translator) Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2004
Homer, The Odyssey Robert Fitzgerald (Translator) Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2004
Sophocles, Oedipus Rex, Prestwick House 2005
Euripides, Medea, Penguin Classics 1963
Francois Villon, Poems, Galway Kinnell (Translator) University of New England Press 1982
Dante Aleghieri, The Divine Comedy - Inferno, John Ciardi (Translator) NAL Trade 2003
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, George Bull (Translator) Penguin Classics 2003
Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Montecristo, Robin Buss (Translator) Penguin Classics 2003
Albert Camus, The Outsider, James Laredo (Translator) Gardners Books 2004
Leonardo Sciascia, The Day of the Owl, Archibald Colquhoun (Translator) New York Review of Books 2003
Leonardo Sciascia, To Each His Own, Adrienne Foulke (Translator) New York Review of Books 2000
Leonardo Sciascia, The Wine Dark Sea, Avril Bardoni (Translator) New York Review of Books 2000
Albert Cossery, Proud Beggars, Thomas Cushing (Translator) Black Sparrow Press 1981
Benjamin Tammuz, Minotaur, Mildred Budny and Kim Parfitt (Translators) Europa Editions 2005
Boris Vian, I Spit on Your Graves, Tamtam Books 1998
Jean-Patrick Manchette, The Prone Gunman, City Lights Publishers 2002
Jean-Patrick Manchette, Three To Kill, City Lights Publishers 2002
José Cardoso Pires, Ballad of Dogs’ Beach: Dossier of a crime, Beaufort Books 1987

Contemporary Contenders

Andrea Camilleri, The Smell of the Night, Stephen Sartarelli (Translator) Penguin 2005
Andrea Camilleri, Excursion to Tindari, Stephen Sartarelli (Translator) Penguin 2005
Andrea Camilleri, The Shape of Water, Stephen Sartarelli (Translator) Penguin 2002
Andrea Camilleri, Voice of the Violin, Stephen Sartarelli (Translator) Penguin 2004
Andrea Camilleri, The Terra-Cotta Dog, Stephen Sartarelli (Translator) Penguin 2003
Andrea Camilleri, The Snack Thief, Stephen Sartarelli (Translator) Penguin 2003
Massimo Carlotto, The Colombian Mule, Christopher Woodall (Translator) Orion 2004
Massimo Carlotto, The Master of Knots, Christopher Woodall (Translator) Orion 2005
Massimo Carlotto, The Goodbye Kiss, Lawrence Venuti (Translator) Europa Editions 2006
Massimo Carlotto, The Obscure Immensity of Death, Lawrence Venuti (Translator) Europa Editions 2007
Didier Daeninckx, Murder in Memoriam, Serpent’s Tail 1992
Didier Daeninckx, A Very Profitable War, Serpent’s Tail 1995
Elena Ferrante, Troublesome Love, Ann Goldstein (Translator) Europa Editions 2006
Marcello Fois, The Advocate, Patrick Creagh (Translator) Vintage UK 2001
Batya Gur, The Saturday Morning Murder: A Psychoanalytic Case, Dark Alley 1993
Batya Gur, Bethlehem Road Murder: A Michael Ohayon Mystery, Vivian Eden (Translator) Dark Alley 1993
Batya Gur, Murder on a Kibbutz: A Communal Case, Dark Alley 1995
Thierry Jonquet, Mygale, Donald Nicholson-Smith (Translator) City Lights Publishers 2003
Jean-Claude Izzo, Total Chaos (Marseilles Trilogy), Howard Curtis (Translator) Europa Editions 2005
Jean-Claude Izzo, Chourmo (Marseilles Trilogy), Howard Curtis (Translator) Europa Editions 2006
Jean-Claude Izzo, Solea (Marseilles Trilogy), Howard Curtis (Translator) Europa Editions 2007
Yasmina Khadra, The Swallows of Kabul, John Cullen (Translator) Nan A. Talese 2004
Yasmina Khadra, In the Name of God, Linda Black (Translator) Toby Press 2000
Carlo Lucarelli, Carte Blanche, Michael Reynolds (Translator) Europa Editions 2006
Carlo Lucarelli, Via delle Oche, Michael Reynolds (Translator) Europa Editions 2006
Carlo Lucarelli, Turbid Summer, Michael Reynolds (Translator) Europa Editions 2007
Carlo Lucarelli, Almost Blue, Oonagh Stransky (Translator) City Lights Publishers 2001)
Carlo Lucarelli, Day After Day, Oonagh Stransky (Translator) Vintage Books 2005
Juan Manuel de Prada, The Tempest, Paul Antill (Translator) Overlook 2004
Petros Markaris, The Late-Night News, David Connolly (Translator) Vintage UK 2004
Edna Mazya, Love Burns, Dalya Bilu (Translator) Europa Editions 2006
Eduardo Mendoza, The Truth About The Savolta Case, Alfred J. MacAdam (Translator) Pantheon 1992
Arturo Perez-Reverte, Captain Alatriste, Putnam Adult 2005
Manuel Vàzquez Montalban, The Angst-Ridden Executive, E Emery (Translator) Serpent’s Tail 2002
Manuel Vàzquez Montalban, Off Side, Serpent’s Tail 2001
Manuel Vàzquez Montalban, Southern Seas, Patrick Camiller (Translator) Serpent’s Tail 2000

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The Assassin (L'assassino)  (1961)
Director: Elio Petri
Story: Tonino Guerra, Elio Petri
Screenplay: Pasquale Festa
Featuring: Marcello Mastroianni, Micheline Presle, Cristina Gaioni, Salvo Randone

The 10th Victim (La decima vittima) (1965)
Director: Elio Petri
Screenplay: Elio Petri, Ennio Flaiano, Tonino Guerra, Giorgio Salvioni
Featuring: Marcello Mastroianni, Ursula Andress, Elsa Martinelli, Salvo Randone

We Still Kill The Old Way (A ciascuno il suo) (1967)
Director: Elio Petri
Screenplay: Elio Petri, Ugo Pirro
Featuring: Gian Maria Volontè, Irene Papas, Gabriele Ferzetti, Salvo Randone,

The Stranger (Lo Straniero) (1967)
Director: Luchino Visconti
From the eponymous novel by Albert Camus
Screenplay: Suso Cecchi d'Amico
Featuring: Marcello Mastroiann, Anna Karina, Bernard Blier, Georges Wilson, Bruno Cremer   

The Day of The Owl (Il giorno della civetta) (1968)
Director: Damiano Damiani
Screenplay: Damiano Damiani, Ugo Pirro
Featuring: Claudia Cardinale, Franco Nero, Lee J. Cobb, Tano Cimarosa, Nehemiah Persoff   

Todo Modo (1976)
Director: Elio Petri
Story from the eponymous novel by Leonardo Sciascia
Screenplay by Elio Petri, Berto Pelosso
Featuring: Gian Maria Volonte’, Marcello Mastroianni, Mariangela Melato, Michel Piccoli, Ciccio Ingrassia

Troublesome Love (L’amore molesto) (1995)
Director: Mario Martone
From the eponymous novel by Elena Ferrante
Screenplay: Mario Martone
Featuring: Anna Bonaiuto, Angela Luce, Gianni Cajafa, Peppe Lanzetta, Licia Maglietta   

Fabio Montale (2001) (mini-series)
Based on the “Marseilles Trilogy” by Jean-Claude Izzo
Director: José Pinheiro
Screenplay: Philippe Setbon (writer)
Featuring: Alain Delon, Michel Albertini, Philippe Baronnet, Cédric Chevalme, Elena Sofia Ricci

Total Kheops (2002)
Director: Alain Bévérini
From the eponymous novel by Jean-Claude Izzo
Screenplay: Alain Bévérini
Featuring: Richard Bohringer, Marie Trintignant, Daniel Duval, Robin Renucci, Maurice Garrel

The Lost Seamen (Les marins perdus) (2003)
Director: Claire Devers
From the eponymous novel by Jean-Claude Izzo
Screenplay: Claire Devers, Jean-Pol Fargeau
Featuring: Bernard Giraudeau, Miki Manojlovic, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Marie Trintignant, Audrey Tautou   

The Fugitive (Il Fuggiasco) (2003)
Director: Andrea Manni
From the eponymous novel by Massimo Carlotto
Screenplay: Massimo Carlotto, Andrea Manni
Featuring: Alessandro Benvenuti, Daniele Liotti, Roberto Citran, Claudia Coli, Joaquim de Almeida

Criminal Tale (Romanzo criminale) (2005)
Director: Michele Placido
From the eponymous novel by Giancarlo De Cataldo
Screenplay: Giancarlo De Cataldo
Featuring: Stefano Accorsi, Kim Rossi Stuart, Pierfrancesco Favino     

The Goodbye Kiss (Arrivederci amore, ciao) (2006)
Director: Michele Soavi
From the eponymous novel by Massimo Carlotto
Screenplay: Massimo Carlotto, Marco Colli
Featuring: Alessio Boni, Carlo Cecchi, Isabella Ferrari, Alina Nadelea, Michele Placido     

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Single writer sites (in French) (in Italian) (in Italian)

General Noir and Mediterranean Noir sites

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Massimo Carlotto was born in Padua, Italy, and now lives in Sardinia. In addition to the many titles in his extremely popular “Alligator” series, he is also the author of The Fugitive, The Goodbye Kiss, The Obscure Immensity of Death, Niente, più niente al mondo and most recently, Northeast. 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. His novels have been translated into many languages, enjoying enormous success outside of Italy, and several have been made into highly acclaimed films.

Howard Curtis lives in London. His many translations include three novels by Georges Simenon, Night in the Afternoon by Caroline Lamarche, and a new edition of The Way of the Kings by Andre Malraux. His translation of Marc Dugain’s The Officers’ Ward was nominated for the 2001 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and his translation of Edoardo Albinati’s Coming Back won the 2004 John Florio Italian Translation Prize of the Translators’ Association of Great Britain.

Sandro Ferri, publisher, is the founder of edizioni e/o in Italy, and Europa Editions, New York.

Jean-Claude Izzo was born in Marseilles, France, in 1945. He achieved astounding success with his “Marseilles Trilogy” (Total Chaos, Chuormo, Solea). In addition to the books in this trilogy, his two novels (Les marins perdus, and Le soleil de mourants) and one collection of short stories (Vivre fatigue) also enjoy enormous success with both critics and the public. Izzo died in 2000 at the age of fifty-five.

Tobias Jones, a former editorial assistant at the LRB, is the author of the bestselling The Dark Heart of Italy.

Brian Oliver is a contributing editor at The Observer and The Guardian newspapers.

Michael Reynolds is an author and translator. He currently lives in Rome, Italy, where he collaborates as an editorial assistant for publisher, Europa Editions.

Lawrence Venuti’s many translations from Italian include Melissa P.’s fictionalized memoir, 100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed, Antonia Pozzi’s Breath: Poems and Letters, and Juan Rodolfo Wilcock’s The Temple of Iconoclasts. He has been the recipient of both translator’s fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts for the translation of Dino Buzzati, in 1983, and Antonia Pozzi, in 1999, and a Translation Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the translation of I.U. Tarchetti in 1988. In addition to being an accomplished translator, he is also a translation theorist and historian. He is author of The Translator’s Invisibility (1995) and The Scandals of Translation (1998) and editor of The Translation Studies Reader (2000, 2004), all published by Routledge. He is currently professor of English at Temple University.

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