Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Parrots by Filippo Bologna, Howard Curtis (Translator)

The Beginner, The Writer and The Master compete for a prestigious book award. To win the award they have to ensure enough votes for their books. All three desperately wants the accolades and will do anything required to gather enough support. Even if it meant that “If you’re not capable of creating a work of art, you have to become a work of art.”

They soon will discover that self-indulgence can only be successful if the social architecture of their environment allows them to succeed. Death, illness, women, workers and pets become Dionysiac metaphors for their personal ambitions and soon prove to be the factors they should have considered important enough, in the first place, in their quest for fame and fortune. 

One of them demanded to win, one expected to win and one hoped to win. Not that all three of them acted out of free will. On the other hand, some temptations simply had to be yielded to, with unimaginable consequences. The morphology of the book industry is such that their choices of agents, publishers and editors played a major role in the sinister outcome of the event. All three formed part of formidable teams, either acting as instigator or victim in their own plots. 

Whatever they envisioned for their destiny made them aware that the hardest part of any life, even a glamorous one, is to find one's feet and stay standing. Some of them won't find their feet in their quest to seek self-justice. One of the contestants had to address a complex dilemma for which there was no easy solution, only a dramatic outcome. The surprising twist in the end almost make this book a thriller. Almost, but not quite!

All three of them established some fundamental truths to feed their egos, such as: ..." suffering is a leper who walks with bells on his feet..."

"Life is too short to be devoted to suffering, people who suffer want to suffer, suffering is an invention of man: above the clouds the sun is always shining".

"The day of his divorce? A liberation. His father’s death? The deposition of a weary king. The end of a friendship? Social cleansing. 

Everything that happens can become an opportunity. In all these years, The Writer has been the personal gardener of his own success. He has carefully mowed, watered and fenced off the evergreen lawn of his well-being. And now? Now he won’t allow anyone to get close, and fires off a volley if he so much as sees anyone lurking around the fence of his life. The obvious threat comes from outside, because inside his garden
there is nothing and nobody that can harm him, he can run free without fear of tripping up: there are no obstacles or rusty tools in his garden."

Pathos, empathy, a little whiff of love, and even compassion define the authentic narrative playing itself out in a modern Rome. A tinge of surrealism creeps into the tale with the black parrot becoming some sort of unwanted, as well as feared totem.

The narrative skill used in the book, makes it an informative, often poetic, as well as entertaining read. Numerous phrases caught my imagination, such as: " His thoughts were watered by wine, fermented by the first sunshine of spring. "(paraphrased)


"When we are old we may say wise things, but when we are young we say true things."

A thoroughly enjoyable read.

"The Parrots " was provided by Pushkin Press through Netgalley for review. Thank you for the opportunity. I also bought the book, and I am happy with that. There will be quite a few people whom I know, would love to read it. I cannot wait to share it!


A searing satire of the literary world, in which three men fight - to the death? - for a coveted literary prize

Three men are preparing to do battle. Their goal is a prestigious literary prize. And each man will do anything to win it. For the young Beginner, loved by critics more than readers, it means fame. For The Master, old, exhausted, preoccupied with his prostate, it means money. And for The Writer-successful, vain and in his prime-it is a matter of life and death. As the rivals lie, cheat and plot their way to victory, their paths crossing with ex-wives, angry girlfriends, preening publishers and a strange black parrot, the day of the Prize Ceremony takes on a far darker significance than they could have imagined.

‘A hoot, written with a shrewd eye for the absurdity of certain literary egos’ - The Times
‘A five-star satire on literary vanity… A wonderful, surprising novel’  - Metro
‘A scathing satire about the murky world of Italy’s prestigious literary awards… Bologna paints a comically grim picture of a culture of back-stabbing and deceit’

A Financial Times and Evening Standard Book of the Year 2014



Filippo Bologna was born in Tuscany in 1978. He lives in Rome where he works as a writer and screenwriter. His debut novel How I Lost the War is also published by Pushkin Press.
(Information source)


Genres: Drama, Italy, Rome, Filippo Bologna, Howard Curtis (translator), Suspense, Relationships, Book industry, satire,
Formats:  Kindle, Hard cover, Paperback, | Nook

Number of pages: 288
Edition language: English
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publishing date: 
September 16, 2014  |  May 2014
ISBN-10: 1782270396

ISBN-13: 978-1782270393
PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon USA | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble |

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