- FEBRUARY 2018 -
HOME - Bridge Italy - Bologna - Amidst the mountains of Val d’Aosta …in pursuit of the culprit
Amidst the mountains of Val d’Aosta
…in pursuit of the culprit
The new adventure of Commander Colleoni in Franco Faggiani’s latest novel.
Splendid landscapes, a range of human types, and clues that dissolve like “soap bubbles”
by Anna M. Conserva
SHARE Facebook Twitter

There comes a time in a man’s life when he has to stop. And that is exactly what Bartolomeo Colleoni, after roaming the world having fascinating adventures, does. He stops, “plunging”, in the real sense of the word, as we discover from his first appearance in Le tracce sotto la neve, into a land of mountains, in his well-cut suit, English shoes and with his undiminished charm, to rediscover the healthy pleasure of solitude, to admire the beauty of untouched places and to savor the simplicity of a good glass of wine and a book.

Choosing a quiet place to live and a job that is less demanding than being Commander of the Trento Forestry Corps, however, will turn out to be quite different from the idea of an eventful life in the country.

After the events that involved and disturbed him in Franco Faggiani’s first novel, while waiting for the completion of work on his chalet and taking advantage of a quiet period, Commander Colleoni in Le bolle di sapone (Piazzola sul Brenta, Idea Montagna - Editoria e Alpinismo, 2014, 238 pp., euro 16.50) moves to Val d’Aosta to check some ibex or perhaps “to get some fresh air into his head? Does distance cancel certain little memories or does it actually intensify them?”

In this second novel some of the characters from the first book return. The team of esteemed assistants, a taxi-driver that drives any vehicle as long as it is souped-up and, in the margin, the cheerful and unpredictable daughter Caterina, the fascinating Norwegian ex-wife Johanna and the mysterious Matilde, the widow of his predecessor Vanoi, the link between the end of the first book and the beginning of the second.

The story presents us with interesting new characters; first of all, a new female figure: a guide with an ambiguous name, soft curves and a mane of hair. And also the Gerards, father and son, a surly wine-grower, a couple of eccentric old stationers, dust-covered and touching, a Buddhist monk, a violent alcoholic scoundrel, an old guide struck dumb by an indelible pain.

Like the first novel, the second contains clues that are evanescent and almost imperceptible, like soap bubbles, but they are enough for the commander and his young helper Minetti to conclude their investigations into the illegal transport of goods and people and unknown lethal substances. They use shrewd skill, good contacts, outright good luck and methods that are breezy, and at times questionable.

Up hills and down dales, to refuges and clefts, the reader follows the Commander. With him he solves the mystery of the present in the valley and scales the mountains where from the snow and from the past there emerge sad stories and figures, pain and peace, in a crescendo of human feeling that adds force to the characters. “Over time, everything is dragged down, perhaps being changed, transformed, shattered. But every thing that does not belong to the glacier, sooner or later gets ejected”.

The style is fluid, the story full of surprises; with smiles and sadness, carried away by new adventures, readers have almost no time to catch their breath.

The tension is sustained but pleasant, softened by the descriptions of landscapes, the choice of delicious food and well-structured wine enjoyed amidst erudite quotations, which remind you that at least you’re safe, among old friends.

More articles
Culture   Eugenio Barba On Life and Theatrical Thought and Practice Culture   Mark Bradford and Wade Guyton Million dollar American art that’s taking Italy by storm Culture   “Poverty is sexist” The young ambassadors of ONE in Paris against extreme poverty Culture   The middle-eastern origin of blown glass, the pride of Venice Culture   “You don’t know the South” 
The culture of the South relaunched in Otranto Culture   Those Southern women who express the world Culture   Andy Warhol The immortal guru of Pop Art Culture   “Angels and saints in Chicago and Baltimora” Cultural exchanges between the University of Bari and the US Culture   Those farm women, thrilled at their first sight of the sea… Culture   My Puglia as seen from the UN Culture   Forty young Italians with ONE for the fight against world hunger Culture   “American Dreamers” The new dream of eleven American artists on show in Florence Culture   The Fulbright Project? An extraordinary opportunity for a cultural exchange
Books   Not even love transforms the Stock Exchange of destinies Books   And the dream of conquest turned into a mirage of the desert Books   Joseph’s Gargano Books   The tragedy of Mattmark A book so as not to forget Books   Journey through the gardens of Italy Books   When poetry investigates “time” Books   Amidst the storms of life it’s the strength of a loving heart that wins Books   That valley in the Gargano so rich in history that must not be forgotten Books   Grottaglie and its pottery through the life of the benefactor Vincenzo Calò Books   Eighty years of joyful culture Books   Sergeant Romano’s siege like in a movie Books   The magnificent eighty Books   San Marco in Lamis seen from its bell-tower Books   A great love for splendid Castro Books   Better not come home... Letters between Italy and America during the first World War Books   Story of a poet between Puglia and America Books   Worked to death under the sun of Puglia Books   When forgotten objects tell a life story Books   Masserie of Puglia Journey amidst Beauty Books   An excursion into the Salentine dialect … Mai pe iabbu Books   The moral revival of the South can start from its “best” Books   Life, anyway! Books   Rainbow of women Books   …Once upon a time there was the past Writing about it to preserve the memory Books   Disorder and experimentation in the museum-houses of Ignazio Apolloni Books   Salento stories …in search of lost time Books   Pietro Marti, the great standard-bearer of Salento culture Books   Even tycoons cry Books   If a “whale” island appears one night out of nowhere… Books   From his ancestral Calabria to Roma Precious memories of a lifetime Books   The importance of rediscovering “fraternity” Books   In the wax museum to seek the dream of a better world Books   Naples “Kissed by God and raped by Man” Books   Once upon a time there was the padre-padrone Books   Second World War The drama of the fallen Books   On the Savannah lagoons …to heal Books   The meaning of the 20th century in the saga of the Stille family Books   In Fellini’s La dolce vita the germs of today’s Italy Basilicata   Craco The “second life” of a ghost town Po Delta   The Po Delta park Natural beauty and history Bari   “Cieli americani” in Bari Verona   Verona Shakespeare celebrated its beauty without ever having seen it Courmayeur   Courmayeur All the charm of the low season Ferrara   You can still dream in Ferrara Ferrara   “Action!” Amongst Ferrara’s myriad sets Music   Porretta Soul Festival The Italian Woodstock of black American music Matera   Pasolini-Matera Fifty years ago the first Gospel in the Sassi Naples   “Wood Stone and Friends” Jimmie Durham’s magic vitalism at the MADRE Naples   Art miracles at Vigna San Martino Naples   The Hermann Nitsch Museum From horror to awareness Bologna   Do you want to be FICO? In Bologna you can Bologna   Bologna “The Learned”, “The Fat”, “The Red” Bologna   At the MAMbo Arte Povera on display Polignano   From Brooklyn to Polignano Twelve artists out to conquer Europe Movies   With The Revenant DiCaprio rises again and aims for the Oscar Movies   Quo Vado? When the southern redneck turns politically correct Movies   When the cinema returns to the future Best of Italy   Andria Pietro Zito’s vegetable garden This is where his prize-winning dishes originate Best of Italy   The best Milanese panettone is… Salentine San Marino   “From Hopper to Warhol” on the gentle hills of San Marino San Marino   San Marino Historic appeal amidst breathtaking panoramas Turin   Reggia di Venaria Reale A treasure rediscovered Turin   The Egyptian Museum of Turin The immortal appeal of the Pharaohs Turin   “For President” Photogenic qualities will win the elections Padua   So much… In the city of the three “withouts” Milan   EXPO 2015 Not just food Milan   The oneiric inspirations of Joan Jonas Milan   “Autunno americano” Milan celebrates the States Milan   MILAN The metropolis is still “to drink” (…and “to eat”) Rome   “Empire State” New York is still the epicenter of art Venice   The immortal charm of the 
“Queen of the Sea” Venice   So many “Illumi/nations” with the Biennale d’Arte Rovigo   History and Art In the capital of the Polesine Rovigo   “Divisionism, the light of what is modern” 200 works on show in Rovigo