Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Michael Dibdin RIP

I'm shocked and saddened to learn that the talented writer Michael Dibdin has died aged 60. The Telegraph's obituary sums up his life and his Aurelio Zen books. I remember seeing him on the tv as one of the pundits on the programme announcing the Booker prize awards - someone whose name I recognised and had read. I haven't yet read his Zen books but I do recommend 'A Rich Full Death'. The final (presumably) Zen book is due out in July, aptly called 'End Games'.


Caravaggio said...

What sad news. I have read all of the Zen books by Mr Dibdin, and found them to be amongst my favourite crime fiction reads. I recommend them to anyone. The last novel shall be a mixed blessing indeed.

Peter Rozovsky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Rozovsky said...

An especial shock considering his relative youth. I wrote about Michael Dibdin on my blog's very first post, including Cosi Fan Tutti among my favorite "international" crime novels. I recommend it highly; it is one of the most unusual crinme novels ever written. Among the non-Zen books, I can recommend Dirty Tricks.

Here's what I wrote back then:

3) Cosi Fan Tutti, by Michael Dibdin, is an exception to my general distaste for novels set in "foreign" countries by writers not from those countries. Such books often degenerate into travelogues. This novel is formally daring, and talk about surprise endings! Dibdin, an Englishman, spent several years teaching in Italy, and his charmingly named protagonist, Aurelio Zen, offers a kind of Baedeker's guide to official Italian corruption and internecine rivalry, each novel set in a different region: Naples here, the Vatican, Venice, the south in other books. And Rome. Always Rome. "Zen" is a name characteristic of the protagonist's native Venice, but it also has overtones of the detachment with which this Zen moves through the sometimes deadly worlds of Italian officialdom and gangsterdom. Of course, the character's other name, Aurelio, is another clue that he is wise and given to occasional musing, if not outright meditation.

Aurelio is the Italian form of Aurelius, as in Marcus Aurelius, that most philosophical Roman emperor.