Monday, August 18, 2008


My review of Donna Leon's The Girl of His Dreams has been posted on Euro Crime. In my opinion this book was a return to form by the American author, who has lived in Venice for over 20 years, and whose books have been translated into most languages except that of her hosts . 
Read my review here and another review by Petrona here.

This was a thought provoking book and the 'Girl' was a young member of the Roma community many of whom live in poverty in encampments on the outskirts of Italian cities allegedly sending their children out to beg rather than to school.

Unfortunately real life imitated fiction when the two bodies of Cristina Ibramovitc 12 and Viola Ibramovitc 11 were left on the beach at Torregevata, north of Naples while some holiday makers sunbathed. Others did offer assistance but a recent newspaper poll showed that about two thirds of Italians wanted gypsies expelled even if they held Italian passports. [see article from the Guardian


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really liked your review on Euro Crime, Norm. But very sorry to read of this "life imitating art" news.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Maxine. I agree.
I read this news last month and had saved the photo of the sunbathers and the bodies but then decided not to post it because it looked so terrible.
I hope you enjoyed your holiday in California did you read Cannery Row in Monterey ?

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found the quotes you and Maxine Clarke included troubling.
I understand Orazio Falier is supposed to be Venetian nobility,and therefore probably not the most enlightened social commentator,but his words seem taken straight out of the rhetoric of the Northern League.
Veneto had its own mafia-style organization, La Mala del Brenta ,and still is a key entry point for the drug trade from the Adriatic.
In fact levels of cocaine and heroine consumption in Veneto (and especially Venezia) are extremely high.
Noir writers like Massimo Carlotto and more mainstream authors like Camon or Stella have brilliantly exposed the interplay between legal and illegal economy,the exploitation of undocumented immigrant labour,in short the hypocrisy and corruption of the Italian Northeast.
Makes me wonder whether these aspects are acknowledged at all by Donna Leon,and if so how do her characters maintain their moral high ground.
I'd be also interested to know how she deals with the gypsy theme,and if there's any talk of political responsabilities.
Gypsies often live in illegal slum-like encampments because they are evicted and pinballed from Municipality to Municipality.
Where the effort has been made to involve in a dialogue representatives of the Roma communities in order to draw together a map of problems and priorities,integration has been much more succesful.
By the way,the latest article from the Guardian on Torregaveta has been translated and put in various antifascist/immigrant rights sites,and was mentioned in the Corriere della Sera,just like the article on the "Bloody battle of Genova" a month ago.


10:19 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks for your comments Marco.
In the Donna Leon books Guido and Paola Brunetti are very liberal and accept the culpability of the state in its treatment of the gypsy population.

I think I picked out those quotes because they gave a flavour of the hypocrisy that pervades all of the Western European countries.

People wanted the cheap labour and cheap services but they don't want the immigrants who make it possible.
By the way Jo Nesbo deals with the plight and history of the gypsy people in his novel Nemesis.

11:27 AM  

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