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FREE Ì A Very Private Gentleman ⚻ SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, THE AMERICAN, STARRING GEORGE CLOONEY AND DIRECTED BY ANTON CORBIJNThe locals in the Italian village where he lives call him Signor Farfalla Mr Butterfly for he appears to be a discreet gentleman who paints rare butterflies But as inconspicuous as Farfalla tries to make himself, his real profession is deadly, unbeknownst to the sometime brothel worker, Clara, with whom he sleepsOf a certain age, and as his feelings for Clara intensify, Farfalla has resolved to make his next job his last all the while sensing a treacherous circle closing in on him This is an exquisite book.It is a finely crafted story about a craftsman who very finely crafts his wares.There are so many different levels to the book that it s impossible to begin to capture them all indeed, I suspect that just one reading is nowhere near enough to even begin realizing them all.It won t appeal to everyone certainly not on a fairly cursory examination of the dust jacket which suggests that it s the story of a hitman who hides behind a series of different disguises.It does This is an exquisite book.It is a finely crafted story about a craftsman who very finely crafts his wares.There are so many different levels to the book that it s impossible to begin to capture them all indeed, I suspect that just one reading is nowhere near enough to even begin realizing them all.It won t appeal to everyone certainly not on a fairly cursory examination of the dust jacket which suggests that it s the story of a hitman who hides behind a series of different disguises.It does indeed deal with death but it a very interesting way, where the main protagonist mulls on how death effects us all how it comes to some of us slowly, and to others quickly but very seldom is it surgically, to the exact place and time and modus operandi dictated by one other individual This is a recurring theme throughout the book and a compelling one at that.It is also a love story though how a Very Private Gentleman the original title of this wonderful story finds love for the first time in his life It puts all of this into a religious context, thus invoking Grahame Greene at his best whilst never being an imitation of another author.The book touches upon sex, pornography, eroticism and various other turns on the theme, again doing it sensitively, cleverly and intellectually.You d think that all these topic areas dealt with so interestingly would be enough but on top of that, our author creates very believable, three dimensional characters as well as placing them all in a very real Italian country side which we can smell and touch as well as see thanks to the wonderful descriptive narrative.It s not the perfect book but it s very, very good Certainly one that will be put on the to be read again shelf Thoroughly enjoyable, and extremely stimulating Mister Butterfly is the eponymous Very Private Gentleman, and this, despite being a confession of sorts, is his very private memoirs full of names that have been changed, places invented for our benefit and a certain amount of history invented to protect the not so innocent He s a man approaching the end of not just his working life but life, and he s very much aware of it In confessing his sins as a member of an elite group of professionals that dabble in not exactly legal behaviour Martin Bo Mister Butterfly is the eponymous Very Private Gentleman, and this, despite being a confession of sorts, is his very private memoirs full of names that have been changed, places invented for our benefit and a certain amount of history invented to protect the not so innocent He s a man approaching the end of not just his working life but life, and he s very much aware of it In confessing his sins as a member of an elite group of professionals that dabble in not exactly legal behaviour Martin Booth in what must be the closest I ve come to finding somebody to compare to Graham Greene deconstructs the nature of humanity, mankinds relationship with religion, love, death, and each other This is a very unique modern novel in what is my admittedly not VERY widely read opinion, it is a spy thriller of sorts, an entertainment if you will but at its heart is an existential journey of the literary persuasion that would leave most readers of its genre counterparts cold and frustrated Booth devotes page upon page to descriptions of guns and bullets but there is ten timesspace given to Italian history and musings on the different behaviours and evolution of Western man, the beauty of nature and the heartbreak of being unable to acknowledge your true feelings for your past, your future and the one person you ve ever allowed yourself to get close to.Bought several years ago now after finding it in a bargain bin at the height of the George Clooney movie s promotional campaign and never in any danger of finding its way to the top of my to be read pile, I was ready to give this book away without reading it It took an unpacking of my literature from boxes and finding space on my new bookcases to decide to give it a quick look before discarding it I m very glad I did and I curse that movie even further, for I surely cannot be the only person who avoided this fantastic book afterward There is hardly any of the book in the movie, none of the movie in the book They are two separate entities that need not ever be considered in the same breath again once the bland film passes from public awareness Anyone who has seen The American with George Clooney will not recognize this book The opposite is also true They are very different The book is literate the movie is entertaining unless you like car crashes and piles of bodies dripping gore in which case you will be bored I was not The man s character and occupation are revealed in bits and pieces, slowly, almost like creating a mosaic or jigsaw, although, as he repeatedly states, much of it may be untrue in order to hide his loca Anyone who has seen The American with George Clooney will not recognize this book The opposite is also true They are very different The book is literate the movie is entertaining unless you like car crashes and piles of bodies dripping gore in which case you will be bored I was not The man s character and occupation are revealed in bits and pieces, slowly, almost like creating a mosaic or jigsaw, although, as he repeatedly states, much of it may be untrue in order to hide his location and identity I have hidden in the crowds all my life Another face, as anonymous as a sparrow, as indistinguishable from the next man as a pebble on a beach I may be standing next to you at the airport check in, at the bus stop, in the supermarket queue I may be the old man sleeping rough under the railway bridge of any European city I may be the old buffer propping up the bar in a rural English pub I may be the pompous old bastard driving an open Roller a white Corniche, say The protagonist meditates on killing, that he is a part of history through his actions, that killing itself is essentially meaningless, since death is something that happens to all of usDeath is but a part of a process, inescapable and irrevocable We live and we die Once born, these are the only certainties, the only inevitabilities The only true variable is the timing of the event of death It is as pointless to fear death as it is to fear life We are presented with the facts of both and have to accept them There is no Faustian avoidance on offer All we can do is attempt to delay or accelerate the approach of death Men strive to postpone itHow the killing is accomplished is important surgically, quickly.for death can always be justified It was the mutilation that was wrong They should have been satisfied with the end of their enemy It is not a matter of aesthetics or moralities, of political expediency or humanity It is simply a waste of time The dead feel nothing For them, it is over For the killers, there is nothing History is nothing unless you can actively shape it Few men are afforded such an opportunity Oppenheimer was lucky He invented the atom bomb Christ was lucky He invented a religion Mohammed was just as fortunate He invented another religion Karl Marx was lucky He invented an anti religion Assassins are essential, he muses, society would stagnate There would be no change save through the gradations of politics and the ballot box That is most unsatisfactory The ballot box, the politician, the system can be corrupted The bullet cannot It is true to its belief, to its aim and it cannot be misinterpreted The bullet speaks with firm authority, the ballot box merely whispers platitudes or compromise There isgross profanity in one corner of the political world than in the whole of the red light areas of Naples, Amsterdam and Hamburg all rolled into one For what is hell if it is not the modern world, crumbling into dissolution, polluted by sins against the people and the earth mother, twisted by the whims of politicians and soured by the incantations of hypocrites I drove away in a hurry And yet, he is not the killer he only supplies the meansAs I care little for death, it follows I care not that I create it for others I am not an assassin I have never killed a man by pulling a trigger and taking a pay off I wonder if you thought I had If this is so, then you are wrong My job is the gift wrapping of death Has he contrition or committed sins requiring forgiveness I have told untruths I have been economical with the truth in the very best traditions of those who govern us These lies of mine have never done harm, have always protected me at no expense to others and are, therefore, not sins If they are such, and there is a god, I shall be prepared to answer my case in person when we meet I shall take a good book to read say War and Peace or Gone With the Wind or Doctor Zhivago for the queue for this category of sinner will be very long and, knowing the arrogance of the Christian church, will be headed by cardinals, bishops, papal nuncios and not a few Popes themselves Many lovely phrases One I particularly likedBats do not so much fly as flicker splash in neurasthenic parabolAnotherHere, rain is an Italian man who does not kiss hands and fawn like a Frenchman, or bow discreetly like an Englishman, keeping sex at bay, or get brazen like an American sailor on shore leave Here, the rain is passionate It does not fall in sheets like the tropic downpour or drizzle miserably like an English complaint, snivelling like a man with a blocked nose It slants down in spears, iron rods of grey water which strike the earth and pockmark the dust, spread out like damp stars upon the dry cobblestones of the streets and the flagstones of the Piazza del Duomo The earth, far from succumbing to the assault, rejoices in it After a brief shower, one can hear the earth click and pop as it sucks its drink Part meditation on life, happiness, society, individual worth, personal satisfaction, I very much enjoyed this book, a thriller, but not in the traditional sense of providing a thrill, but rather providing intense sensations As Farfella himself says,In a book, Salome can seduce me, I can fall in love with Marie Duplessis, have my own Lady of the Camellias, a private Monroe or exclusive Cleopatra In a book I can rob a bank, spy on the enemy, kill a man Kill any number of men No, not that One man at a time is enough for me It always was And I do not always seek experience second handExactly This is not at all what I expected I saw the movie a couple of years ago and I grabbed the book at a bargain bin in London last summer I was curious to know how different from the movie it was but I wasn t expecting much from the book Turns out I was totally wrong, this book hooked me from the get go The main character reveals things about him bit by bit, so that we can know how he his slowly That way the story keeps being interesting even though technically nothing happens What I loved This is not at all what I expected I saw the movie a couple of years ago and I grabbed the book at a bargain bin in London last summer I was curious to know how different from the movie it was but I wasn t expecting much from the book Turns out I was totally wrong, this book hooked me from the get go The main character reveals things about him bit by bit, so that we can know how he his slowly That way the story keeps being interesting even though technically nothing happens What I loved most about the book was Booth s writing style I simply loved it I wouldn t know how to describe it, you d have to read it But everything he wrote was interesting For example, I don t know anything about guns but I read the descriptions about how Signor Farfalla made them and told us the differences between them and I was totally interested Anyway, just try to get some time to read this book Also, I wouldn t describe this as crime or thriller It was something else Better