Written by Cristina Bonafede (Bookseller at Punto Einaudi Milano)
Translated by Arianna Acquafredda
A lousy pub, The Red Goose, run by an always drunk tubby (or at least we imagine him so) who organizes different illegal activities, innkeepers who become wives or prostitutes on occasion, an abbey with moneymaker nuns with misleading features, orphans abandoned in the worst hands and a patchwork of quaint characters, sometimes gloomy, in any case malicious: let’s shake all these ingredients and you’ll have the best literary cocktail that brings us back to long ago adventure novels.
Everything is seasoned with a very flowery and ironic style, which only a writer as Michele Mari can handle with the mastery that distinguishes him.
This is what you’ll find in Roderick Duddle’s pages, a novel with rapid paces, that completely absorbs the reader making him/her part of the narrative. Thanks to an action of “metaliterature”, the novel starts in Milan and catapults us in the quaint Castlerough, in a location that reminds us of Dickensian atmospheres: little Roderick (but is this really his name?) is the unaware heir of a fortune coming from his mother, one of The Red Goose’s innkeepers.
She died leaving him to be part of the furniture and of the staff of the above mentioned hovel, leaving him a locket, advising him never to part from it. Which happens, indeed, otherwise we wouldn’t be here talking about this book.
The story forces little Roderick who, although had been forced to grow up rapidly, still remains a 10 years old boy, to wear out his shoe soles to escape from all the very quaint characters that would like to get their hands on him and on his fortune.
Let’s run along with Roderick then, scrolling down these fast pages, in a little town on the sea with kind fishermen, in little country villages where you run away from a killer and you stumble into a little dummy farmer who, accidentally, applies that justice we all hope for, to discover how it’ll end for our little hero.
Michele Mari, Roderick Duddle, Einaudi, Torino, 2014