Roberto Saviano, Author, Virginia Jewiss, Translator , trans. from the Italian by Virginia Jewiss. Farrar, Straus & Giroux $25 (301p) ISBN 978-0-374-16527-7

Saviano has created a perfectly realized, morally compelling journey through the brutal world of contemporary Italian mob life in this ceaselessly violent tale of the Camorra, a network of thugs, exploiters and killers who run Naples and the surrounding countryside. Armed with a police band radio, Saviano visits one crime scene after another, recording the final words and circumstances of the dying and dead. The murders described are savage, cruel and senseless: “The head... hadn't been cut off with a hatchet, a clean blow, but with a metal grinder: the kind of circular saw welders use to polish soldering. The worst possible tool, and thus the most obvious choice.” Jewiss's translation of Saviano's intense prose flows beautifully from the pestilence and degradation of everyday life in the teeming Neapolitan slums to the futile efforts of the police to control the rich, organic chaos that is the only way the Camorra know how to live. A stunning achievement, this is a must-read for anyone interested in the state of contemporary Europe. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 08/13/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
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