The Little World of Don Camillo ended, not as it began, with a gentle tale of the spitefully loving relationship between our hot-tempered priest, Don Camillo, and his equally hot-tempered antagonist, Mayor and Communist Party chief, Peppone. Rather, the novel ended with a multi-part tale of mayhem, murder, attempted murder, vigilante action–all unresolved–and a Christmastime scene of our two heroes, for they are both heroes and they need each other, quietly contemplating the Christ child after working together to spruce up the parish’s creche.
I wasn’t sure I would read any more Don Camillo any time soon, since the tales fit a certain comfortable pattern. Things at the end were much the same as at the beginning, with Don Camillo and Peppeno in a cautious truce, and hiding the assistance each offers the other. But with the cliff-hanger (who’s the shooter?) I think I must.
I am looking forward to re-reading Comrade Don Camillo, which is about how our priest finagles a trip to the USSR as part of the Mayor’s visit to the Communist promised land. I don’t recall much of that book. There’s a trip to a collective farm, I think there’s something to do with a cosmonaut, and on scene on a train… Don Camillo has disguised his Bible as a book of communist propaganda, and when he is finished reading it, he fixes his hair, checks the button on his blazer, the wipes off his left lapel, and then his right lapel, much to the consternation of his commie host.