The Monster of Florence – A Book (and Audio) Review



monster of florence[1]Last month, my friend gave me the audio version of The Monster of Florence, a true story about a serial killer who brutally murdered seven young couples as they made love in their cars outside of Florence.


The author of this book, Douglas Preston, had moved his family to Italy while he was doing research for a crime novel he was planning on writing.  When he discovered that a brutal murder had occured in the olive grove right by his idyllic country home, he became interested in the tale of these horrific murders.  He teamed up with Mario Spezi, a journalist who had chronicled the murders.  Together they took it upon themselves to see if they could figure out the mysteries that surrounded the case, and to discover who this Monster could be.  They pieced together lots of evidence and met and interviewed a multitude of people, including those they thought might be the Monster himself.  In the end, they were even indicted as being involved with the Monster killings.  This is a tale not only of murder, but of corruption within the Italian judicial system. Oddly enough, the same judge from Perugia that tried to pin these murders on Mario Spezi, the journalist (just because he “knew too much”) was also the same judge involved with the Amanda Knox trial.  An interesting similarity of finding an easy “victim” to be the culprit!  There was never a real  Monster of Florence conviction, even though the real culprit was probably involved in the investigan at some point.  Many were arrested and many people’s lives were tainted and ruined from the speculations against them.  The interesting thing to me was that these horrible murders did not make  many headlines outside of Italy – why not?


Victims and accused

The story was well written, but I cannot say the same as to the quality of the narration of the audio verson by Dennis Boutstkaris.  He has a great voice to do these audio books, but his imitation of the Italians in the story speaking is pitiful.  He does that horrible pseudo-Italian accent which sounds like he is joking ( and in the context of this book, there are no joking matters.)   His pronunciation of Italian words is even worse!  His accents are always on the wrong syllables, to the point where you cannot even understand the word he is trying to say.  In my opinion, it would have been better if he just read the words spoken by the Italians in plain English like the rest of the text, and he brushed up on the Italian words before attempting to pronounce them.

4 responses »

  1. E’ una cosa che ho notato anche io; spesso nei libri di lingua inglese, dei quali ho più esperienza rispetto a libri scritti in altre lingue, quando compaio frasi in italiano, perché i protagonisti sono italiani o di origine italiane, hanno sempre qualcosa che non va.
    A volte è la scelta dei nomi, nomi che non si usano più da eoni, ma spesso sono errori, banali, di grammatica e questo tende a rovinare il piacere della lettura a chi la lingua la conosce.
    Non è certo obbligatorio conoscere l’italiano e mi rendo conto che per il lettore medio, anglofono, un errore in una lingua minore passa del tutto inosservato, ma penso che la correttezza della forma o della pronuncia, specie quando si tratta di brevi frasi, abbiano più a che fare con la voglia di fare un buon lavoro che con altro; sono sicuro che i paesi anglofoni abbonano di volenterosi italofoni pronti a dare una mano con queste cose, magari anche solo per la gloria.
    Se può consolarti anche qui si fanno le stesse cose; banali errori di grammatica in inglese o francese, ma sono sicuro che anche le altre lingue non vengono risparmiate, pronunce discutibili… ma il paese è piccolo e quindi si sa chi cura poco il suo lavoro e, almeno io lo faccio, si cerca di evitare queste persone.

  2. Sicuramente, hai raggione. Quando fanno le traduzione, tante volte il libro perde il suo fascino. Pero in questo caso, siccome il testo era scritto originalmente in inglese, non c’erano problemi di traduzione…i problemi erano nella versione audio. Mi sembra che potevano trovare uno che era capace da pronunciare le parole Italiane in un modo che almeno si poteva capire la parola Italiana che voleva dire!

  3. Sounds gruesome! Yes, you would think the publishers could find someone who knows how to speak English and Italian…You for example! 🙂

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