Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lost in Translation?

ZeroZeroZero – Roberto Saviano (Penguin Books)

Full disclosure up front: I didn’t read Roberto Saviano’s bestselling take down of Naples Italy Mob, Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples’s Organized Crime System.

Certainly based on that outing, Saviano’s reputation precedes him as an investigative journalist, known for throwing himself headlong into a story. So I approached ZeroZeroZero with a level of expectation that this book would serve up the all-to-rare these days kind of hardboiled journalism.

What I got in return for those expectations was a nearly incoherent, muddled effort that became nearly unreadable from the first page. The introductory chapter has Saviano droning on about the level of saturation that cocaine use has in society. If it’s not your Mother it’s your Father, and if not your Father it’s your sister; if it’s not your sister it’s your brother…co-worker…person next to you on the bus…guy mixing your drink at the bar…you get the picture. Saviano serves up so many examples that I started flipping pages to see exactly how long he could go before exhausting this line of thought.

Is there a story to be told here? Without a doubt, but unfortunately, that story is not told here. It left me wondering if that story may have been lost in translation.

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