The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro

Fiction

Antonio Tabucchi
translated by J. C. Patrick

A literary thriller of heroin rings and headless bodies uncovers social ills and corruption in modern day Portugal, while – as in all of Tabucchi's work – blurring genre boundaries

In this genre-bending thriller, Antonio Tabucchi, Italy's premier writer, draws together a gypsy, a young tabloid journalist with a passion for Lukács and Vittorini, and an overweight lawyer with a professed resemblance to actor Charles Laughton, to solve a murder that leads far up and down Portugal's social ladder. As the investigation delves deeper into this shadowy world, the novel moves beyond the traditional twists of a suspense story to consider the moral weight of power and its abuse. Tabucchi's critique of the system of secrecy and torture that survives in civilized societies is both timely and chilling.