Last week, Isobel Dixon flew to Rome for the launch of Exhibit A’s publication of THE VIEW FROM THE TOWER, Charles Lambert’s second dark and suspenseful novel set in the streets of Rome. Below is Charles’ own account of the event:
‘When I first moved to Rome, and knew no one, I used to eat in what may have been the cheapest trattoria the city had to offer, a place called Mario’s (yes, with the apostrophe ‘s’, a wink perhaps to impoverished foreigners) in Via del Moro, a narrow street running up from the river to Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. I was back in Via del Moro on Wednesday evening, not at Mario’s (although I was momentarily tempted to nip in for a plate of spaghetti aglio olio) but a few doors further up, at No. 45, at the Almost Corner Bookshop. It’s my favourite independent bookshop in Rome, run by Anita and Dermot, who helped me out with launches of earlier books of mine, and were the obvious people to turn to when I decided to have a Rome launch for THE VIEW FROM THE TOWER. THE VIEW FROM THE TOWER isn’t just set in Rome, it’s imbued with the city. I like to think you could use the novel to guide yourself around whole swathes of the capital should you feel so inclined. The square beneath Helen’s apartment, where the novel opens, is just on the other side of the river, a few minutes’ walk away. It felt like taking the novel home.
I had a great time. I love all book launches, not only my own, particularly when the wine is flowing and I’m surrounded by books, and people, both old faces and new. Among the new faces was Conor Fitzgerald, author of the Alec Blume novels, who also knows a thing or two about the seamier side of Rome. One of my favourite short story writers, Matthew Licht, also made the trip down from Florence to celebrate with me (Commercial break: Matthew and I will be reading together and talking about memory at the British Institute in Florence on 19 March.) But what made this launch even more special, apart from the joy of seeing some friends I hadn’t seen for a shamefully long time, was the presence of my friend and agent, Isobel Dixon. You know that motto about trying to be the person your dog thinks you are? Agents are a far cry from dogs, although Isobel, in terms of loyalty and hard work is certainly this author’s best friend, but her presentation of me and of the book was filled with such generosity and affection, I was left wondering how anyone could ever live up to it. I’ll do my best, Isobel! I then read three short extracts from the book.
Another exciting thing about the launch was that I was able to give my Italian friends a preview of the novel in Italian translation, beautifully read by Renata Crea. Retitled Occasioni di Morte (Chances of Death), translated by Isabella Zani, it’s due out in September with the Italian publisher, Voland Edizioni. So that’s another launch to look forward to…’