Translator – Howard Curtis
Original title I pappagalli
Source – review copy
Well as I said when I review my prizes by Thomas Bernhard it was strange to have another book I read at same time about Lit Prize .Flippo Bologona Second book the parrots to be translated to English is the Book in question .Flippo Bologna has written two novels and a number of screenplays his début novel also published by Pushkin How I lost the war won the strega prize ,he has also won a foreign press golden globe for his screen play for the film the world is yours .
Don’t be deceived by the fact that he’s in his pants and T-shirt on a terrace in Rome on this bright spring Day .The young man is a writer ,a writer at the beginning of his career ,so he won’t be offended if we call him the beginner(it’s what everyone calls him anyway ) That’s what he is because he has written and published just one novel ,but one that hits the bullseye .
Sound familar hey !!
The Parrots is a satire on the Lit prize process for three writers ,we never know there names the are simply known as the beginner ,the writer and the old master they have each a book up for the big prize .We follow there lives from the day the short-list is announced to three months earlier, then a month before ,week before, the day before and on the day the prize is given.we also get a post-mortem four months after when the dust has settled and that last shock in the book has fully sunken in .The three embody different stages of a successful writers career ,so we meet The Beginner ,he has let the fact he is up for the prize go to his head ,The Writer he is successful as a writer, but his personnel life is a real mess at the moment ,then there is The Master ,this guy is in the twilight of his career and is revered by people .Then add into the mix , a mysterious Black parrot ,a death ,wives ,girlfriends and publishing folk .We have a wonderfully comic mix .The publisher on twitter compared him to Amis ,it so long since I ve read Amis a writer whose best years have been and gone for me ,so I wouldn’t compare him to Amis as this is only his second novel and it is hard to say how Bologna will grow as a novel writer ,as he seems to also have a great screenwriter career as well ,for me this is a good satire on arts Culture and how it can effect perfectly ordinary people .
Let’s be clear about this .The small publishing company that issued The Master’s books was a fully fledged publisher with a back catalogue that brought out at least ten to fifteen titles a year .
I thought this sounded familar those one great writers that move to smaller unknown presses .
I start to think about the terms of these writers are given then wondered is this maybe the same writer competing as thou they are three different people ? when is a writer is at his best ? when you’re the master is everything you write good ? when can your own life be taken over your actual writing life ? These were all questions I ask ,I imagine writers in each of the places the beginner well there are a lot young writers that seem a bit full of it! ,if you know what I mean .Given we live in a celeb obsessed age our poor English writers aren’t celebs much to my dismay as sure they are much more interesting than our current crop of celebs .The master is a writer I imagine with the cover baring”his best since ….” and a book that was written decades ago is mention but there is always hope .Another think I was reminded of is the classic Italian painting by Giorgione called the three philosophers that featuring a trio of men one young one middle-aged ,this was painted in 1509 and similar pictures to this crop up after this one with the three ages of man as a theme .
Do you like novels about writers