Imprimatur – Rita Monaldi & Francesco Sorti


It is my profound belief that each and every book deserves the attention and time given by a reader. Whatever your opnion of the book, reading it is communicating with the author, and it would be plain rude to cut off the author and not let them finish. There are books that have not fallen in my taste and other books whose publication confound me, but there are only a handful of books in my life that I have begun to read, willingly given up on, and pulled the bookmark out in a slightly aggressive manner. “Imprimatur” is one of them. I have read a little more than half and I am done. “Imprimatur” has resided on my nightstand for the better part of two months now and I simply lack the self-discipline to read another page.

“Imprimatur” has that air of mystery that in itself has value. Apparently, the authors contacted a publisher in Italy, but after the publication of the first edition, the authors were stonewalled. The novel was later published again internationally from the Netherlands. The punchline is that the almighty Vatican is not in complete agreement with the historical facts around which the story turns. This is part of what spiked my interest.

The story itself centers around a Roman inn quarantined by the assumption of the plague in the 17th century and follows the guests and employees in the inn. Still interesting in my opinion, but than “Imprimatur” pales. The storyline is reduced to a lot of repetitious conversations and running about spying on one another. At the same time, “Imprimatur” is drowning in words. For example the many recipes of a doctor for medicines curing everything from the plague to hiccups. Entire conversations are almost verbatim retold to third parties as alliances and allegiances are created and tested. By page 317 I gave up. Neither the story, the historical background, nor the air of mystery make “Imprimatur” a joy to read.

Recommending “Imprimatur” is difficult. I do not know whether there is an epiphany on page 392 or aliens suddenly attack, but a reader should appreciate a slow story in voluptuous language.

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