Vincenzo Malinconico is a wildly unsuccessful lawyer who spends most of his time at the office trying to look busy. His wife has left him. His teenage children worry him to death. And he suffers from a chronic inability to control his sentence structure.
When he is asked to fill in as the public defender for alleged Mafioso Mimmo lo Burzone, Malinconico seizes the opportunity to turn his life around. Without dwelling too long on what it might mean to be employed by the mob, he rushes to re-learn the Italian criminal code, all the while attempting to resist any further advances from his employers. Malinconico’s life becomes a comical battle to finish what he has started without falling further into the clutches of the mafia.
I Hadn’t Understood is one of the subtlest and most cunning accounts of the mafia’s influence on everyday life in recent decades. And it is certainly the most entertaining. Written with a neurotic’s love of detail and wry humor, I Hadn’t Understood is an engaging story of family, fatherhood, and the perils of navigating the Italian legal system.