From the Publisher
Praise for The Lost Sailors
"The writing is divine."
—Andrea Camilleri, author of the bestselling Inspector Montalbano series
"Izzo is exceptional at describing the melancholy, aching atmospheres in which these characters find themselves; he tenderly evokes their desperation, and via their misadventures portrays the cruelty of a world where men are sold for scrap like abandoned ships."
Praise for Jean-Claude Izzo's Marseilles Trilogy
"[Total Chaos is] full of fascinating characters, tersely brought to life in a prose style that is (thanks to Howard Curtis' shrewd translation) traditionally dark and completely original."
"[Izzo's] novel is rich, ambitious and passionate, and his sad, loving portrait of his native city is amazing."
—The Washington Post
"Izzo's Marseilles is ravishing. Every street, cafe and house has its own character."
—Globe and Mail (Toronto)
"What makes [Izzo's] work haunting is his extraordinary ability to convey the tastes and smells of Marseilles."
—The New Yorker
"The author masterfully depicts his native Marseilles' sensuous diversity, from down-at-heels
cafés to the increasingly ritzy and snobbish seaside."
This moody turn from the late Izzo (1945-2000), author of the hit Marseilles detective trilogy that includes Total Chaos, centers on the Aldebaran, a ship waylaid by debts in the port of Marseilles. After most of the freighter's crew is sent home, only the Lebanese captain, Abdul Aziz; the Greek first mate, Diamantis; and the pleasure-loving Turkish sailor Nedim remain. All three are dogged by a loss of purpose, memories of the women they have loved and abandoned, and the great myths of the Mediterranean, including the Odyssey. Diamantis emerges as the reluctant hero, determined to make amends with a woman he left in Marseilles 20 years before, while a middle-aged Abdul comes to terms with his morally ambiguous career at sea. Marseilles's seedy underbelly soon catches up to the lost sailors and entwines their lives in new ways. Izzo writes candidly about European racial politics, and his characters brood intriguingly, but their noirish flatness proves a real limit. (Sept.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Sailors can be more lost on land than they ever were at sea, suggests this moody drama from French novelist Izzo (Solea, 2007, etc.). When an aging freighter is impounded in Marseilles, its captain and crew are forced to choose. Most of the sailors accept a modest settlement and either head toward further adventures or return to homes long left behind. Three remain aboard the Aldebaran. Captain Abdul Aziz still feels guilty about failing in his obligation to a previous ship. For first mate Diamantis, "the sea was his life . . . the only place he felt free." Radio operator Nedim intended to leave, but he blew his money on a night of carousing. As this leisurely but entrancing human drama unravels, other motives for their inertia are revealed. Captain Aziz weighs his marriage, as his long-suffering wife waits for him to decide between her and the sea. Diamantis wonders about the first love he abandoned in this very port, and Nedim is haunted by memories of an affair cut short by his brutal actions. For these men, the sea is a comfortable purgatory: "Waiting didn't exist. Only leaving had any meaning. Leaving and coming back." To be on land means facing up to past actions and unresolved conflicts avoided for years. The author masterfully depicts his native Marseilles' sensuous diversity, from down-at-the-heels cafes to the increasingly ritzy and snobbish seaside. His characters are equally detailed, their sad stories revealed inch by inch through whiskey-fueled conversations and casual shore-side liaisons. Slow-building drama with a tragic denouement as inevitable and deadly as any storm at sea.