The American

Martin Booth


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The locals in the southern Italian town where he lives call him Signor Farfalla--Mr. Butterfly: for he is a discreet gentleman who paints rare butterflies. His life is inconspicuous--mornings spent brushing at a canvas, afternoons idling in the cafes, and evening talks with his friend the town priest over a glass of brandy.

Yet there are other sides to this gentleman's life: Clara: the young student who moonlights in the town bordello. And another woman who arrives with $100,000 and a commission, but not for a painting of butterflies.

With this assignment returns the dark fear that has dogged Signor Farfalla's mysterious life. Almost instantly, he senses a deadly circle closing in on him, one which he may or may not elude. Part thriller, part character study, part drama of deceit and self-betrayal, The American (A Very Private Gentleman) shows Martin Booth at the very height of his powers.

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HIGH IN THESE MOUNTAINS, THE APENNINES, THE SPINAL CORD of Italy, with its vertebræ of infant stone to which the tendons and the flesh of the old world are attached, there is a small cave high up a precipice. It is very difficult to reach. The narrow path is littered with loose stones and, in the spring when the thaw comes, it is a running stream, an angled gutter two hundred metres long, slicing across the sheer surface of the rock face, collecting melt-water as the scar incised in the bark of a rubber tree channels the sap.
Some years, the local people claim, the water runs crimson with

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The American - Movie Trailer

A movie trailer for The American (2010), based on the novel A Very Private Gentleman, by Martin Booth.

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Praise for The American

"Haunting, shocking, and tense, Booth's story is a charismatic blend of psychological thriller, vivid drama, shocking morality tale, and profound psychological study. His writing is crisp yet lyrical, simple yet intelligent. Readers looking for thought-provoking literary fiction can't do any better than this."--Booklist (starred review)

"Booth constructs his most focused, tightly written novel to date, reminiscent of William Trevor's classic Felicia's Journey and the late Patricia Highsmith's Ripley novels."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Beautifully detailed...exquisite." --Kirkus

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About the Author

Martin Booth

Martin Booth is a critically acclaimed novelist and a documentary and feature film writer. He has written thirteen novels including Islands of Silence, Hiroshima Joe, and The Industry of Souls. His most recent non-fiction books include Opium: A History and The Doctor, the Detective and Arthur Conan Doyle -- a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Martin Booth

Martin Booth


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Available Formats and Book Details

The American
Martin Booth

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
August 2010
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312430016
ISBN10: 0312430019
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 288 pages

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
September 2010
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429980722
ISBN10: 1429980729
288 pages

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