Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Book Review: August Heat (Montalbano 10) by Andrea Camilleri

Click here to look inside UK
Click here to look inside US
I have previously written that I have bought it, so I'm damn well going to finish it, and I have, every book I have ever bought,whether I was really enjoying it or not, I finished it, until now.

Andrea Camilleri is a celebrated Italian author and screen writer and he has written a series of books based on Police Inspector Montalbano.  I have to confess I came to Montalbano through the Italian made TV show as shown on BBC TV in the UK and although it is sub titled I thoroughly enjoy them.  I then stumbled across the books on Amazon and the first one that popped up was this one, so enjoying it on TV I thought the books will be even better and maybe they are and it is me missing something...

Or, is it they have lost something in the translation from the original Italian to English. And has the editing and the page link set up been so badly put together for navigational purposes on e-reader that it makes it to difficult to read?

The basic translation is fine when dealing with the main characters but there is one particular soul in the books and TV who is a comic character who is a policeman.  Cateralla, he is best described as the village idiot transplanted by mistake into a policeman's uniform (but who it is discovered has a talent for computers) but is still the village idiot and a right country bumpkin.  His speech on TV and clearly it has been translated to the TV as well as, and it works in that medium to comic effect, but for me the pigeon bastardisation of the language does not translate well into print and it is just so off putting.  He is not a central character and only pops up every so often; on TV it is quite funny but in the book it is an appalling grind on the nerves.

The second gripe is the 'page links'.  My twitter friend JW Manus discusses these over on her blog along with many other topics on e-book formatting and many publishers and I don't mean just self publishers, could do themselves and us, the reader and purchaser of books a favour, by checking out her comments on formatting and navigation.

This book is full of page links and they all appear to be at the rear.  I have mentioned this before as a gripe in that if you are reading across a Kindle, a phone, a PC or a tablet, when you stop reading and go back to the book, when you sign on and you synch to the furthest page read, it takes you to the last page link opened and unless you have bookmarked the actual page you were reading; you're stuffed and you then have to start hunting for the last page or chapter you were on.

The other problem with the Kindle is that if you click on a page link, HOW THE HELL DO YOU GET BACK TO WHERE YOU WERE? I still haven't figured this out and again you are left hunting for the last actual page of the story you were reading.  I think the only answer is DON'T CLICK ON BLOODY PAGE LINKS, sheesh...

So, I got so fed up with Cateralla and continually losing my reading place that I have finally given up after 7 chapters, a waste of over £4.00 but a lesson learned.

Editing for Kindle /iPad: 2 out of 5
Reading Enjoyment: 1 out of 5
Page length on kindle /iPad: 288 estimated although the page numbers are not shown on Kindle
Plot: 0 out of 5
Overall Rating: 1 out of 5


  1. Yikes! Sorry to hear this. Jaye's right, formatting is extremely important.

  2. Sorry, too, to hear this, Tom. It annoys me no end to give up on a book because of poor formatting--and there have been a few that were utterly unreadable.

    Now you have me very curious about how to solve the link/navigation problem. I think I know a way to do it, but will need you to play guinea pig for me.

    Just being nosy, what's your opinion of links in the text of a fiction book? Does the underlining bug you? Or does it not make much difference? I run across it in non-fiction, and it doesn't bother me, but haven't run across it in fiction and wonder if it detracts much from the text.

  3. Hi Jules, Yea, but I suppose it had to happen at one point, just a pity it wasn't a £0.99 book LoL

  4. Jaye, thganks for stopping by my sweet. I went back into it after reading your comments again and looking at your site and I actually found that by clicking on the underlined 'page link' again it took me back to the page in the story again, simple, so maybe I was just being a numpty. That was the same on both the Kindle and the ipad.

    Use me any time my sweet, for anything to bounce of or try. Just let me have it and tell me what you need me to do and I shall obey.

    Links in fiction - well this one is a prime example there are tons of them. page 116 is an example;

    'At eleven he turned on the television. Lupus in fabula: (underscored) Televiga'ta featured a story showing the honourable Gerardo Catapano inaugurating the new municipal dog shelter of Montelusa.

    he turned it off, freshened up a bit and left the house.'

    I know this has been translated from the original Italian, but Montalbano had just been speaking to a colleague abvout Catapano before turning the TV on, so why have a page link to the Latin phrase which in essence means "talk of the devil"

    To me, if this had been a flowing narrative, all it is achieving is to distract the reader from the narrative, and surely that is the last thing an author wants to do?

    To an extent, in an historical novel, and Bernard Cornwell is an example of this where he is using original Anglo Saxon place names, you could understand it, to a degree,(even being British I would never know e.g. that Contwaraburg was Canterbury and in the sense of the read, I would like to be able to access that and I don't think it would be a distraction. But, in a contemporary novel I really can't see a place for them :-)

  5. Ah yes. Navigation is *possible* on the ereaders, it's just not terribly graceful. Like I said, annotated text does NOT bother me in non-fiction, but underlines in fiction (or footnote tags) would look awful in fiction.

    However, you have given me an idea about glossaries and pronunciation guides in fiction (and with some of the fantasy fiction I read, those are a must). One, the producer should make sure the glossary and/or pronunciation guide are listed in the table of contents, and two, a link back to the text in question would be nice. THAT wouldn't show up as underlined text. Hmmm... always thinking.

  6. Jaye, yep, there is definately a need for them in some books but if Montalbano is typical then there was no need as it is nothing more than a distraction.

    Also, as I said before glossaries or guides in 'book' at the rear are also fine and yes they would be fine in ebooks if the navigation was better, but again and as I say I am sure I am not the only one reading across devices so in ebook format I believe they would always be better at the front of the book. For no other reason than that I always forget to bookmark the page before closing it down on the reader (so it's my own fault I suppos) xxx


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