I have a lot of friends from Naples here in Madrid (funnily there seems to be a sense the future is better here, can’t imagine why). And last year I finally read the now world famous, Gomorra, an exposé of the Neapolitan mafia, called the Camorra – lovely play on words – by Roberto Saviano. I had never heard of it until, in 2007 when I perused the yearly Best of 2007 lists for things to read, it kept popping up over and over and over again.

I won’t try to sum the book up, I wouldn’t do it justice, but it’s a surreal, “nonfiction novel” as they’re calling it, about one of the most violent destructive and baffling (solution-wise) organized crime operations you’ve never heard about (unless you happened to catch coverage of the garbage crisis)- and it’s right in the heart of Europe – peaceful sleepy boring Europe as we Americans often see it.

Anyways, they’ve made a movie out of it, which happened to win the Grand Prix at Cannes this year.


And yeah, duh, Saviano has been living in hiding, and recently announced he’ll be going into exile, since they’ve promised to kill him by Christmas. Surprise!

Just to plug this blog’s local angle – it is at times a really interesting study of the intersection of immigration and organized crime, particularly dealing with the exploitation of the immigrant Chinese community with sweatshop labor that goes to produce some of the goods in this most fashionable of nations. Will I ever look at a photo of a Milan catwalk in the same way again? No.