Saturday, November 08, 2008

83. "Gomorrah" - Roberto Saviano


Saviano's journalistic look at Italian organized crime has him locked up under a witness protection program. He has received multiple death threats and responds to questions through circuitous routes like a member of the mafioso himself.

Since 1979, the Camorra have organized everything from sweatshops to drug trafficking. This book details how the Chinese unload millions of dollars of fabrics and clothing in Naples every year, but ask for their bodies to be taken home to rest on Chinese soil. Saviano, himself, witnesses how drug addicts are used as guinea pigs to test the quality of a heroin shipment.

When Saviano writes about his first-hand experiences, it is gritty and involving, but when he gets into the history of the crime "clans," it reads more like an 8th grade history text - dry and difficult to swallow. I blame part of that on the translation from Italian to English (this was first released in Italy to more than 600,000 copies sold).

Due to this, as well as my own misunderstanding of the book (I thought it was about a history of all Italian crime - the Mafia, etc.), I wasn't as blown away (pun intended) as others.

3.25 out of 5.0 Italian Surfers.

1 comment:

Stefania said...

Yes, I can understand that this book can be hard to swallow (and it wasn't the translation I think), but in Italy it was something completely new. Nobody had told these things about camorra, at least not in this way, saying names and explaining all the connections and businesses of "the system".