Impossibly lyrical and distilled by a humanity that betrays a compassionate stirring through the residual wailings of the immortal lot as the screams of pastilential expressions calumniate the purity of the brave. Gesulado Bufalino's novel was compared to Alexander Dumas and Di Lampedusa, Boccaccio and Sciascia, Calvino and Borges by I think it must be cast in a mold much more becoming his style and lyricism. I gather the best kins to Bufalino are the latest Jose Saramago, the indomitable Nabakov and the German Hermann Broch, the latter a less well known fabulist that is rightly ranked amoung the greatest of any era by late 20th century critics (Arendt, Adorno and Calvino to name a few) with whom I concord enthusiastically.
The setting of Night's Lies is an island fortress, craggy, volcanic, inhospitable. In its confines are four prisoners - a baron, a chivalrous poet, a soldier with a religious penchant and an student in love - all condemned for plotting against the Bourbon King. On the eve of their execution, the ailing and aging governor of the fortress offers them a last minute reprieve: If one of the four will reveal the identity of their mysterious leader, known as God the Father, all will go free. They pass the hours of their last night in the company of a renowned bandit chief, with whom they take turns telling stories, narratives of love and war, vengeance and lotalty. As death approaches each is faced with the ultimate judgement whereby is decreed whether his life had any meaning, and to what, if anything, he owes his allegiance.
A magnificently constructed, exquisitely written, excellently translated timeless work that traces the boundaries of a fabulist territory only to walk its contours, as if to delineate the metafictional which borders on the will of a postexistential testament, where the beyond gravitates within the empty core of its pull.
It is an easy fluid entertainig telling that coils and winds with interminable joy.
Here below some reviews on publication date by literary journalist: Patrick McGrath, The Washington Post "The imagery in Night's Lies is as fresh and vivid as the events depicted . . . The ending is both astonishing and satisfying . . . a resolution undreamed of because it was in front of your eyes all along."
Kirkus Reviews "Bufalino is a gifted storyteller who has created an elegant fable that, like the best of the genre, can be enjoyed and savored on many levels. A deceptively simple story, with an ending that is stunning."