Set in Gorbachev's Russia, The Anonymous Novel is a complex and compelling story of many varied characters dealing with the problems of change, coming to terms with the past and fretting about the future. Barbero manages that typically Italian trick of combining both humour and profundity, and his exceptional storytelling skill are even more clearly displayed than in this, his finest novel. The murder of Pashayev, a leading Muslim cleric in Azerbaijan, triggers a series of events. This is not a murder mystery, as the reader knows who the culprit is from the very beginning, whilst the other characters, including the investigating judge, never do, but there is nevertheless a tension - suspense even - that holds the reader, who is in any case fascinated but the breadth of the intellectual argument, the wit and the observation of human nature. Vitali Vitaliev has described this book as "a literary miracle - unique, witty and gripping. It reads like Bulgakov's prose somewhat modernised or even a careful and sensitive translation of one of the great Russian classics. It is stunningly authentic, and I cannot believe that the author and translator are NOT Russian...A book to savour and consume slowly.