Robert. The Blind Man of Seville. Harcourt, February 2003.
c448p. ISBN 0-15-100835-3. $26. Fiction.
Alternately a melodrama and a travelogue
through the streets of Seville, Wilson’s latest (after
The Company of Strangers) shares several features that made
his first novel, A Small Death in Lisbon, an award winner.
The best parts are the journals of the protagonist’s
father—a fascinating re-creation of the Spanish Civil
War, World War II on the Russian front, and the postwar years
in Tangier. Javier Falcón, chief homicide detective
in Seville, has a ghastly murder to solve, one that inexplicably
strikes into the depths of his being. When two similar murders
follow, Falcón finds himself facing a midlife crisis
as he penetrates his own past to find connections between the
victims and his recently deceased father, a famous painter
who lived a life of hidden depravity. The complex story that
follows is skillfully developed, and the work as a whole becomes
a tour-de-force of psychological probing, marred only by a
sometimes baroque style in which the intensity of the language
surpasses the drama of the narrated events. Highly recommended
for most public libraries.