Read September 2015
Given the cover blurb I ought to have liked this book, with its comparisons to European novels of big ideas, like Satre or Camus. But in fact I found if very hard going.
It is primarily the story of Libero and Mattieu who give up their studies in Paris and return to Corsica to run (and turn around) a struggling tourist bar. They make money, drink a lot, have plenty of women, but as the story progresses the debauchery grows, ultimately causing the pair’s dream to collapse.
As the author makes clear, it’s an analogy of St Augustine’s sermon on the mount, where he sets out the inevitable corruption of man.
There were some good passages but, in the end, the book is too much like magical realism for me (and in fact a comparison is made to Marquez on the cover which is ought to have paid more attention to). We never get under the skin of the characters – even the two main characters remain very distant, let alone the side characters which are sketches, even caricatures – and the focus on big philosophical and historical themes means the psychological analysis that the novel form does so well it just not here, making this are difficult read.