7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2008
Those of us who love Italy as a destination of beauty and art tend not to want to think about how things work day to day. This sad and shocking book is a brave account of behind-the-scenes corruption that originates in the south but affects all parts of the country. The translation can be a little stilted, but should not be enough to put anyone off reading Saviano's excellent book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2015
When people say "Italian Mafia" they think about the "Cosa Nostra",
The "Cosa Nostra" has a single rulebook and a single structure, building up in a pyramid from the soldiers at the base to the boss of bosses at the apex.
In Gomorrah, Saviano writes about "The Neapolitan Camorra", or "The System" as it is known by those on its inside, is a vast, pullulating world of gangs. Gomorrah is an excellent book about the workings of the South Italian Mafia.
This is a book about an Italian Mafia almost nobody talks about, the one concentrated in Naples - The Camorra.
A must read if you want to know more about "The System".
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2008
This is a very good book that sends a shocking message about organized crime in Italy, Europe, the West and the rest of the world, for that is how far the tentacles of such a crime "System" reach. It is so shocking that one struggles with disbelief as one reads the text. The pun in the title may escape some readers: Gomorrah (Gamorra in Italian) is the Camorra organized crime system of Naples and surrounding region (interestring that the name seems to be derived from the Spanish word meaning, fight - the Spaniards were long in southern Italy).
I haven't read the original, yet, but I will. This translation is adequate and in spots gripping; it conveys the message if not always the meaning of the original. Translation, however, is always problematic. Here's one example to illustrate the problem. The Italian word, "sequestrare", has in context either the primary or secondary meaning of the English, "sequester". The meaning is English is best illustrated, and almost exclusively used, as in this sentence: "The jury was sequestered for three days." But the secondary meaning in English is not often seen: "The property was squestered" is normal Italian, but the English would read, "The property was seized" or even, "confiscated", notwithstanding the original might not be "confiscato" but "sequestrato".
The translation leaves the impression the original is choppy and somewhat disjointed. Who knows, maybe it is; Italian prose doesn't often achieve the clarity and conciseness that can English. But, nonetheless, it conveys the horrors of Gamorrah, especially at the end where the author closes his story with a tale of toxic waste that is truly horriifying and reflective of the coming end: fire.