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The Complete Review: "A fine little love-letter to Marseilles and the Mediterranean region around it."

Date: Apr 3 2013

GARLIC, MINT AND SWEET BASIL is a very motley collection, extremely generously spaced out over just over a hundred pages. Promising in its subtitle Essays on Marseilles, Mediterranean Cuisine, and Noir Fiction, few of the pieces are full-fledged essays — though they do cover these various topics. The collection also includes a short piece of fiction featuring the hero of Izzo's Marseilles-trilogy, 'Fabio Montale's Christmas Dinner', and there's even an appendix of sorts that list Montale's favorite places, and the music and books that are mentioned in the trilogy.

Along with Massimo Carlotto's nice introductory homage, the volume does make a fine little love-letter to Marseilles and the Mediterranean region around it.

It has a bit of a posthumous feel to it — it's hard not to see it as a gathering of scraps — but it's still a decent, if rather slight and loosely put together companion piece to Izzo's fiction, providing some background (including the smells and tastes that infuse his fiction), and offering a few odds and ends and variations on the themes that should appeal to (if perhaps not fully satisfy) fans of the region, of 'Mediterranean noir', and of Izzo's own work.
—M.A.Orthofer

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