I am fascinated by this book. Because Elena Ferrante does not disappoint when digging into the physic of her characters. They are normal people, like any neighbour we could have, to whom we say hello in the morning, without really thinking about their lives. That is only the beginning, as the stories start recounting their apparent normal lives. In this case, it was from Giovanna’s perspective, an only child, who lived with her likely normal parents, attending a normal school, with her normal friends, in a normal neighbourhood.
Joël Dicker new novel follows the same style of his previous books, The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair and The Disappearance of Stephany Miller. This time, oddly and genially mixing the thriller gender along with a bit of comedy and even reality, as the author himself gets inside the story.
I must say I love spy novels, those that are really classic style, where the incumbents communicate leaving special bags in shopping malls, or a red x on a rubbish bin in the middle of the street, or use braille on a paper that has been ironed against a piece of cloth. And John LeCarré was the special guy for these type of novels. I read this book because I saw his interview in the Spanish Newspaper El Pais —his real name is David John Moore Cornwell—. He was brilliant. I loved his political audacity, the way he critized his government, nothing politically-correct-out-of-the-sort. Being part of the MI6 in the 1950s and 1960s, he had great material to outsmart his critics and better yet to fed his novels.
‘The tea bags are not for those who truly like to drink tea’, —only the smelly, fresh leaves is what gives the flavour to the tea. —She used to say—. ‘Once the tea leaves are secured in the cup, add the boiling water. Be careful! The water must not surpass the middle of the cup. Wait until the transparent liquid gets impregnated with the dark colours of the leaves and you feel the soft smells of the tea, then add the exact quantity of milk, not more, not less. Serve immediately and take it to where I am’.