The first installment of the acclaimed Marseilles trilogy
, Total Chaos is a dark novel that explores the intersections of law and order, love and death, immigrant experience and the challenges to tradition posed by a rapidly changing world. In clipped sentences and brutal scenes, the late Jean-Claude Izzo reveals the ways in which the fabled Mediterranean port
has become a microcosm of the fallen world—a place where policemen, prostitutes, ambitious Mafioso, disaffected Arab youths, and neo-Nazis jostle for control. One world-weary cop, Fabio Montale, tries to sort out why his two best friends have been murdered, piecing together a story that is much larger than anyone can safely interpret. Hence the bloodshed, heartache, and for cynical regard for much of humanity. What’s surprising is the lavish attention to the details that make Marseilles at once beautiful and haunting—the love of a place, that is, at the heart of a changing Europe.
Listen to the full broadcast
with guest, Christopher Merrill: