cover image The Lost Sailors

The Lost Sailors

Jean-Claude Izzo, , trans. from the French by Howard Curtis. . Europa, $14.95 (262pp) ISBN 978-1-933372-35-8

This moody turn from the late Izzo (1945–2000), author of the hit Marseilles detective trilogy that includes Total Chaos , centers on the Aldebaran , a ship waylaid by debts in the port of Marseilles. After most of the freighter’s crew is sent home, only the Lebanese captain, Abdul Aziz; the Greek first mate, Diamantis; and the pleasure-loving Turkish sailor Nedim remain. All three are dogged by a loss of purpose, memories of the women they have loved and abandoned, and the great myths of the Mediterranean, including the Odyssey . Diamantis emerges as the reluctant hero, determined to make amends with a woman he left in Marseilles 20 years before, while a middle-aged Abdul comes to terms with his morally ambiguous career at sea. Marseilles’s seedy underbelly soon catches up to the lost sailors and entwines their lives in new ways. Izzo writes candidly about European racial politics, and his characters brood intriguingly, but their noirish flatness proves a real limit. (Sept.)