An extract from Gomorrah. Roberto Saviano


P A R T   O N E

T H E   P O R T

The container swayed as the crane hoisted it onto the ship. The spreader, which hooks the container to the crane, was unable to control its movement, so it seemed to float in the air. The hatches, which had been improperly closed, suddenly sprang open, and dozens of bodies started raining down. They looked like mannequins. But when they hit the ground, their heads split open, as if their skulls were real. And they were. Men, women, even a few children, came tumbling out of the container. All dead. Frozen, stacked one on top of another, packed like sardines. These were the Chinese who never die. The eternal ones, who trade identity papers among themselves. So this is where they’d ended up, the bodies that in the wildest fantasies might have been cooked in Chinese restaurants, buried in fields beside factories, or tossed into the mouth of Vesuvius. Here they were. Spilling from the container by the dozen, their names scribbled on tags and tied with string around their necks. They’d all put aside money so they could be buried in China, back in their hometown, a percentage withheld from their salary to guarantee their return voyage once they were dead. A space in a container and a hole in some strip of Chinese soil. The port crane operator covered his face with his hands as he told me about it, eyeing me through his fingers. As if the mask of his hands might give him the courage to speak. He’d seen the bodies fall, but there’d been no need to sound the alarm or alert someone. He merely lowered the container to the ground, and dozens of people appeared out of nowhere to put everyone back inside and hose down the remains. That’s how it went. He still couldn’t believe it and hoped he was hallucinating, due to too much overtime. Then he closed his fingers, completely covering his eyes. He kept on whimpering, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying. Continue reading

The legend of the dwarf king. Luca Paci


Listen!

The land was shrinking
And the sky was dry
The great dwarf-king
Was passing by

Listen!

There was a man in my country who owned everything
And everything he had was stolen from the people

Listen!

This man in this country became a king and his kingdom included
All the crops of the fields and radios and lawyers
And Tvs and books and papers and ships

Listen!

This man in reality was not a king
But a bald dwarf with a fake toupet
And a rubber mask

Listen!

The dwarf talked of freedom
In his nation of slaves
And democracy and honesty
In his nation of thieves
And environment and pollution
In his nation of smoke

Listen!

The dwarf king was changing the rules of the game and bringing
Zombies to life to get more voters
He talked to the judges who thought it was illegal
But he won the diatribe and they went to jail

Listen!

The land was shrinking
And the sky was dry
The great dwarf-king
Was passing by