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Ik ben verslaafd aan boeken. Hieronder kan je mijn volledige lijst vinden van gelezen fictie-boeken die in mijn boekenkast. Van sommige boeken kan je zelfs een korte bespreking vinden.
Little Caesar

Little Caesar

Auteur

William Reilly Burnett

Eerste Uitgave

1996

Uitgave

1996

Uitgeverij

Otto Penzler Books

Vorm

roman

Taal

Engels

Bladzijden

308 bladzijden

Gelezen

2003-09-11

Score

8/10

Inhoud

It is a satisfaction to find a manuscript about which one may become enthousiastic. Mr. Burnett's novel assuredly deserves enthousiasm. It is the story, objectively and graphically told, of the gradual passing of Sam Vettori, a gang-boss in Little Italy, on the north side of Chicago; of his inevitably yielding the headship to his young lieutenant, Cesare Bandello (called Rico); and of Rico's brief-lived days of power, his forced flight from Chicago because of the murder of a police captain, and of Rico's violent end, while hiding in Toledo.

"A synopsis gives an inadequate idea of the swift realism and dramatic excitement of the novel. It is told so concisely, so impersonally that one has the sensation of reading a newspaper account, yet the tale has much more body than a mere jounalistic account, and gives a more complete panorama."

"It is not a novel of literary pretentions; still the compression of material is admirable. It will win the approval of the reader who seeks exciting melodramatic fiction, and at the same time it has a more than adequate claim to recognition as an able piece of writing."

"The title Little Caesar is an attractive one, and definitely characterizes the central figure in the book. The novel has the potentialities of a best seller."

(Quoted from the report of a manuscript reader.)

Bespreking

First gangster novel ever - a classic

Imagine yourself being flown back in time to the late 1930's and dropped of into a dark and lonely alley on the north side of Chicago, commonly known as Little Italy. This area, ruled by the mob, forms the setting for Little Caesar, world's first gangster novel.

Sam Vettori is one of the toughest gang-bosses of Little Italy, but his days are counted. A new ambitious predator is on the verge of throwing Sam from his throne. Cesare Bandello, commonly known a 'Rico', is that guy. On more than one area has Rico proven to be Sam's superior, but on pulling the strings Sam stays the expert. That's why both decide to co-operate. But when a robbery turns bad -a captain of the police gets killed- everyone starts fending for themselves.


Little Caesar is simply a masterpiece. Not only because it is the first of its kind and it gave birth to a whole range of gangster fiction, but also because the peculiar way it is composed. Although it is written in an almost objective and factual style -almost like in a newspaper-, it still succeeds in getting the reader emotionally involved into the action. The action itself, of which there is plenty, is being reported in a very compact narrative, which gives the story a fast and suspenseful pace.

One warning though: the book contains quite some thirties-slang, which might disturb the inexperienced reader. Do you know what happens if someone turns yellow, for example?