Darkness

Darkness

by Dacia Maraini
     
 
Cribbing from the crime pages of Italian newspapers, Dacia Maraini creates in Darkness a memorable cast of characters for whom la dolce vita is merely a pipe dream. Among them is 12-year-old Viollca, an Albanian immigrant sold into prostitution by her parents, and Tano, a boy who brings charges of abuse against his father. Connecting the stories is Adele-Sofia,

Overview

Cribbing from the crime pages of Italian newspapers, Dacia Maraini creates in Darkness a memorable cast of characters for whom la dolce vita is merely a pipe dream. Among them is 12-year-old Viollca, an Albanian immigrant sold into prostitution by her parents, and Tano, a boy who brings charges of abuse against his father. Connecting the stories is Adele-Sofia, a tenderhearted police commissioner with nerves of steel. In spare, lyrical prose, Darkness illuminates Rome's underbelly with courage and compassion. Maraini, winner of Italy's prestigious literary award, the Strega Prize, is one of the most important writers in Italian and feminist literature.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A 12-year-old Albanian girl is sold into prostitution in Italy; a boy is duped by a man who pretends he is a pigeon; an eight-year-old girl is forced by her grandmother to service an old man. Most of the 12 stories in Italian writer Dacia Maraini's chilling collection Darkness involve the betrayal of children by the adults charged with caring for them. Alicetta, a schizophrenic girl, is given baths late at night by a hospital orderly armed with sedatives; Tano, a tough 11-year-old, denounces his father for rape many times, but no one believes him. In spare, luminous prose, Maraini evokes the wary innocence of abused children and the perversity, confusion or stupidity of their parents and guardians. Linking most of the stories is Insp. Adele Sofia, who sucks on licorice drops as she ponders her cases. This is a moving, gracefully written collection.
Kirkus Reviews
A dozen grim vignettes show the brutish side of Italian life, culled from newspaper crime reports and turned into the caseload of sharp-witted but gentle police commissioner Adele Sofia by award-winning feminist writer Maraini. The first involves a boy abducted, raped, and strangled by a stranger who lured him from his house by making himself seem like a pigeon in the boy's mind; later, the killer turns out to be a social worker already involved in the murder investigation. A mentally challenged girl entrusted to a clinic by her last living relative, her ailing grandfather, is dead within months; the investigation reveals that two male clinic workers repeatedly raped her at bath time, then kept her sedated until she died, while the pompous head of the clinic and a harried co-worker suspected nothing. An 11-year-old boy reports his father for rape, but an investigation proves inconclusive; three years later the boy's little brother is dead and fingers are being pointed at both the boy and his father. The feuding family's conflicting testimony confuses everyone, and only Commissioner Sofia keeps her wits about her, aided by sacks of her favorite licorice drops. Finally, a young woman is tortured and murdered while on a trip to see the pope, and a female reporter gets on the case with such a vengeance that she discovers clues that lead to the arrest of a well-spoken, mild-mannered professional with a theory that there's a little of the murderer in everyone. Simple, sobering riffs of whodunit stuff, with cumulative accents on the downbeat.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781586420482
Publisher:
Steerforth Press
Publication date:
10/28/2002
Series:
Steerforth Italia Series
Pages:
162
Product dimensions:
5.77(w) x 8.76(h) x 0.80(d)

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