THE SWAN by Sebastiano Vassalli


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A suave, expertly paced novel by Italian author Vassalli (The Chimera, 1995), a vigorous critic of both secular and religious institutionalized authority who has now taken aim at the Mafia. The story's source is a historical event: the murder of a respected bank investigator, in 1893, generally known to have been ordered by corrupt politician (and Mafioso) Raffaele Palizzolo (a pompous culture vulture whose nickname ""The Swan"" mocked his mock-aesthete's demeanor). Vassalli's portrayal of him--as a monster of deluded grandiosity who's also a species of criminal mastermind--is adroitly encapsulated in a series of infamous actions and their consequences wryly entitled ""Hell,"" ""Purgatory,"" and ""Paradise."" A most unusual novel, and a perversely entertaining one.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1998
Page count: 180pp
Publisher: "Harvill--dist. by Farrar, Straus & Giroux"