The staging of the Montalbano landscape
In 1999 Andrea Camilleri intervened in “The construction of the Sicilian landscape: geographers and writers face to face”. He, of course, was on the side of the writers and declared that, being “one who tells invented stories” he can only take the path of invention. Indeed, like Reuben Monterosso, he defines himself as a novelist and therefore a man of great faith
The strategy for avoiding the so-called “disenchantment with the world” is to construct for one’s characters a land made up of different parts, shaping and structuring a land based on reality. In the same year we saw the televised version of the detective novel series featuring Inspector Montalbano. The first act set the scene of Montalbano’s geographical dislocation. The second dealt with the character’s form. In short, the projection of the written word onto the TV screen required, like any translation, the betrayal of at least one dimension in order to guarantee likeness and verisimilitude. But what happened from 1999 to 2013 was the progressive voiding and “cleansing” of the “half-made-up places” that form the settings of the Montalbano stories. The very human clutter of the “invented land” was transformed into a silent empty landscape.The disenchantment that the TV series brought on was that of denying the “variable geometry of the basic toponomastic structure” its function of “keeping the characters and plot in check”, whose effect was to break the link between form and meaning which on the written page regulates Camilleri’s geographical landscape.