Little Fingers by Filip Florian, Alistair Ian Blyth

bookshelves: hardback, paper-read, romania, under-500-ratings, published-2005, autumn-2014, archaeology, lit-richer, debut, magical-realism, historical-fiction, politics, mystery-thriller, newtome-author

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: me!
Read from September 25 to October 29, 2014
Description: In a little town in Romania, a mass grave is discovered near the excavations of a Roman fort. Are the dead the victims of a medieval plague or, perhaps, of a Communist firing squad? And why are finger bones disappearing from the pit each night? Petrus, a young archaeologist, decides to do some investigating of his own.

Meanwhile, an Orthodox monk in the surrounding mountains stumbles into history when he becomes the father confessor of a partisan bent on bringing down the government, one handmade grenade and one derailed train at a time. Not to mention a team of Argentinean forensic anthropologists who arrive in town in a cloud of rock music, shredded jeans, and tequila.

Translated from the Romanian by Alistair Ian Blyth.

Dedication:

To Mirela,
who makes the best coffee in the world.
Her laugh makes me melt.

Opening: Among the monks, disciples, and workers at Red Rock (and more than twenty souls had gathered since the coming of summer, when they had began to paint the church murals and shingle the roof), that young man, one of the carpenters’ mates, always with rolled-up trousers and sawdust in his eyebrows, was the first to see the bluish-black tuft.

A short read, however it is one that takes concentration and has a busy storylines. The language is lovely, yet the allusions take a little working out. At one point there was ‘a change of circumstances’, where those circumstances actually referred to the outbreak of WWII. And what a cast of characters, each one with a foible, a quirk. If I was to compare the writing to give you a hint, it would be to the Hungarian Peter Esterhazy but with none of the inflated ego or bloat.

A rewarding read with some amusingly absurdist plotlines.

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