From the book’s copyright page:“This book is a work of fiction. The characters and events described in these stories are imaginary, but the social and environmental settings that produced them are, on the other hand, quite authentic.
In this book of four short stories you will experience just what this says above. Stories of bootleg printers, involvement with the Camorra, young men and women forced to find a way to make ends meet while their parents are serving time in prison, the struggle of single mothers to raise their children in an environment of violence and despair. Not a pretty picture at all but the young author (she’s not yet 40) finds a way to capture the essence of her surroundings and bring it to the reader in a manner which is both stark and entertaining. The underlying feature here is Neapolitan history and how that history effects the contemporary setting and its inhabitants; that and how the Camorra’s influence has seeped into every aspect of life. Gritty, sometimes violent, filled with despair and longing, the characters in these stories do whatever they have to do to survive and if that means “cutting corners” now and then, so be it.
The main problem with books such as these is in the translation. In English, the prose is simple, sparse but powerful. However, it was translated from the original Neapolitan dialect (or language, if you prefer) so I’m sure it loses something in that translation - and being originally written in that form, I’m sure if one was able to read it it would have more of an impact. For the English reader, though, you won’t do wrong by reading these stories. I’d be very curious to read one of her novels, none of which, as far as I can tell, are translated into English.