Between True Crime and Fiction: The World of Carlo Lucarelli
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Italian crime fiction, after a difficult inception in the 1930s and 1940s and steady but modest growth in the postwar period, has witnessed remark-able and unprecedented popular success since the early 1990s. The popularity of the homegrown gialli, sustained by a number of prestigious Italian publishing houses, television, and critical interest, has transformed the Italian literary scene into a realm of the giallo and the noir.1 This phenomenon, which deserves further critical attention, has been characteristically undermined by literary critics, although, after the extraordinary success of the Sicilian detective writer Andrea Camilleri—who has been topping the Italian book charts since 1996—a lively and long-overdue debate on the merits of crime fiction has taken place, principally in national newspapers and magazines, which has both mirrored and fueled interest in this popular genre. Leading this new wave of Italian crime fiction is a considerable number of young writers, with the Bolognese Gruppo 13 at the forefront of this literary phenomenon. Gruppo 13, with their postmodern ironic reference to the neoavanguardia of the Gruppo 63, is in fact a loose label under the umbrella of which one can find a group of Italian giallisti working in and around Bologna.2 Luigi Bernardi, the co-editor of Einaudi’s first series dedicated to crime fiction, Stile libero noir, noted, “Actually Gruppo 13 is as if it never existed: they are not thirteen and they have probably never met all together. The group is a media invention.”3 The media, as we shall see, certainly played a central role in the diffusion of knowledge of the new Italian crime writers, given that the cultural climate in Italy had traditionally been very hostile to this popular fiction and was particularly so in the early 1990s.
KeywordsSocial Commentary Television Series Young Writer Popular Fiction Real Crime
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