From the Booker shortlisted author of Islands of Silence and The Industry of Souls comes a fascinating portrait of a man with a double life and a dark trade.
The locals in the southern Italian town where he lives call him Signor Farfalla Mr. Butterfly: for he is a discreet gentleman who paints rare butterflies. His life is inconspicuous mornings spent brushing at a canvas, afternoons idling in the cafes, and evening talks with his friend the town priest over a glass of brandy.
Yet there are other sides to this gentleman's life: Clara: the young student who moonlights in the town bordello. And another woman who arrives with $100,000 and a commission, but not for a painting of butterflies.
With this assignment returns the dark fear that has dogged Signor Farfalla's mysterious life. Almost instantly, he senses a deadly circle closing in on him, one which he may or may not elude. Part thriller, part character study, part drama of deceit and self-betrayal, The American (A Very Private Gentleman) shows Martin Booth at the very height of his powers.
About the Author
Martin Booth is a critically acclaimed novelist and a documentary and feature film writer. He has written thirteen novels including Islands of Silence, Hiroshima Joe, and The Industry of Souls. His most recent non-fiction books include Opium: A History and The Doctor, the Detective and Arthur Conan Doyle a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
"Haunting, shocking, and tense, Booth's story is a charismatic blend of psychological thriller, vivid drama, shocking morality tale, and profound psychological study. His writing is crisp yet lyrical, simple yet intelligent. Readers looking for thought-provoking literary fiction can't do any better than this."--"Booklist" (starred review)
"Booth constructs his most focused, tightly written novel to date, reminiscent of William Trevor's classic "Felicia's Journey" and the late Patricia Highsmith's Ripley novels."--"Publishers Weekly "(starred review)
"Beautifully detailed...exquisite." --"Kirkus"