I don’t know much about Jean-Claude Izzo, but I think he must have been a very compassionate man. You can see it in his treatment of Algerians in the Marseilles trilogy, but it is very apparent in A Sun for the Dying. This is a novel about Rico, a homeless man. We first meet Rico as he is watching a friend die, helpless to do anything about it. We follow him on his wanderings in Paris in a cold winter, and get a small glimpse of the grinding challenges of living rough. Izzo gives us Rico’s history slowly, eventually letting us know that he had been reasonably successful, had hopes and aspirations, money enough to live comfortably. But circumstances and a few small bad decisions led him to a downward cycle that he was eventually unable to overcome.
This is a brilliant and tragic novel. I would not recommend it as the first thing you read by Izzo, but if you’ve read the Marseilles trilogy, this novel is very worthwhile.