A Sportful Malice
All Books are second hand
Award-winning novelist Michiel Heyns is back with a darkly comic tale.
When a young South African literary scholar, Michael Marcussi, is offered, via a Facebook contact, a house in the Tuscan village of Gianocini, he accepts with alacrity: this is just the space and quiet he needs to complete his study of Literary Representations of Tuscany.
But even before he has boarded his plane at Stansted Airport, things start vexing him: an obnoxious old man jumps the boarding queue, and Michael is given the evil eye by a belligerent bovver boy covered in tattoos. Nor is this to be his last meeting with these objectionable characters: they turn up in unexpected places, first in Florence and then in Gianocini itself, with a frequency that cannot be purely coincidental.
In the meantime Michael is pursuing his own extracurricular agenda, through the streets of Florence and the passages of the Uffizi, then through the medieval alleys of Gianocini, only to find himself the object of mysterious designs and the subject of some very disturbing paintings.
Add to this the innocent but curious Wouter, the startlingly rude upper-class harridan, Sophronia, the beautiful but supercilious Paolo and a dog called Thanatos: the Tuscan sun never shone on a more bizarre mix.
After the sophisticated comedy of The Typewriter’s Tale and Invisible Furies, and the poignant ironies of Lost Ground, Michiel Heyns here returns to the broader comedy of The Reluctant Passenger, in a scintillating tale of love, revenge and trippa.