The Fallen

March 24, 2013 at 6:42 pm (Uncategorized)

A few weeks back at work, the name Stephen Finucan came up in conversation. Finucan is a Canadian writer and the author of a couple of books of short stories. I’d worked with him about ten years back and had enjoyed the collections. Wonder if he’s written anything since I thought.  He had. In 2009 he published his first novel, The Fallen.

Four years is a bit late to be publishing comments, but better late than never.

The Fallen is set in Naples after the fall of Mussolini in the time of the city’s occupation by Allied forces. The cast of characters are rich and detailed: A Canadian officer who seeks to atone for a tragic mistake; a philosophizing Godfather-like figure who controls vast swaths of the city’s criminal activities; an upcoming ruthless street thug who seeks to create his own criminal empire; a former communist, now petty criminal whose ideology now involves saving his own skin; an aging museum curator who main priority is to protect his collection; and a girl.

All of these characters act and interact in Finucan’s beautifully written story. It takes a little while to establish the story and set the scene, but once this happens the story proceeds to its seemingly inevitable conclusion.

It’s not a cheerful book. The air of gloom, of despair fills the pages as it fills the characters’ lives. Yet, there’s a certain haunting grace as people try to be human in the face of a situation where humanity is not encouraged.

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