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The Library of Babel

A Spin-off of http://bookwormshead.blogspot.co.uk

Ein perfekter Freund - Martin Suter On several mornings there is this moment before taking a bus for going to job in which I have a quick glance around in my room looking for something to read. Something enjoyable for distracting me from the symphonic horns of the traffic jams or from the loud speaking cellphone monologues of inspired daily travets.

When summer comes to town I try to catch books I forgot to have bought or to give a second chance to half-read novels. Martin Suter's "Ein perfekter Freund" joins the first mentioned club.

The book is an intriguing, catchy novel written in a convincing style without aiming too high, but simply focusing on the plot. There is no useless page, no unrequired description, no flaneur-like observation, but a story to tell from beginning to end.

Suter manages to create realistic main characters, being able to surprise the reader without exaggerating as it often may happen in this kind of thrilleresque story. Sharing the same roots and job with the main protagonist of the book, I have to underline how it's extremely rare in literature finding an Italian character like Fabio Rossi who doesn't carry a heavy luggage of stereotypes. Of course this guy is far from perfection (and this distance will increase page after page), but except for his dedication for the squad of the Italian football team of 1982 he doesn't look out of place in contemporary Switzerland.

Where the writer partially fails is in populating this book with too many characters. Most of them are able to show a sketch of personality of their own, but are forgotten by Suter at the end.
However, considering how the main theme of the book is about the attempt of recovering "islands of memory" in an ocean of forgotten ones after a traumatic accident there is no surprise in noticing that the novelist himself leaves someone at the bottom of amnesia.