Two shattering pieces of fictional reportage by the author of Gomorrah, the bestselling book about the Neapolitan Mafia.
In Italy's impoverished south, choices are limited. Rules and traditions are more powerful than the lives of individuals, and young Italians who stand on the right side of the law still find themselves on the frontline.
In 'The Opposite of Death', Maria is a seventeen-year-old widow before she has even made it to the altar; her fiance enlisted and died in Afghanistan to avoid a life controlled by the mafia. In 'The Ring', a tale of bloody vengeance, a young woman comes to visit from the north, bringing with her ignorance and prejudice. Two women at separate poles of experience.
Roberto Saviano has become a symbol of a whole generation of lost young Italians; these stories demonstrate once more the commitment to truth and justice that made Gomorrah such an exceptionally brave book.
Roberto Saviano writes for La Repubblica as well as many newspapers around the world. After the success of Gomorrah, he received several serious death threats that obliged the Italian government to provide him with 24-hour protection. He has been living in hiding since 2006.
Abigail Asher was the the runner up for the 2010 John Florio Prize for Italian translation for her rendering of Andrea Cannobio's The Natural Disorder of Things.