2020 Longlist

The Piranhas


Translated from the Italian by Antony Shugaar

2020 Longlist

Nicolas Fiorillo is a brilliant and ambitious fifteen-year-old from the slums of Naples, eager to make his mark and to acquire power and the money that comes with it. With nine friends, he sets out to create a new paranza, or gang. Together they roam the streets on their motor scooters, learning how to break into the network of small-time hoodlums that controls drug-dealing and petty crime in the city. They learn to cheat and to steal, to shoot semiautomatic pistols and AK-47s.

Slowly they begin to wrest control of the neighbourhoods from enemy gangs while making alliances with failing old bosses. Nicolas’s strategic brilliance is prodigious, and his cohorts rapid rise and envelopment in the ensuing maelstrom of violence and death is riveting and impossible to turn away from.

About the Author

Roberto Saviano was born in 1979 and studied philosophy at the University of Naples. Gomorrah, his first book, has won many awards, including the prestigious 2006 Viareggio Literary Award, and was adapted into a play, a film, and a television series.

Librarian’s Comments

“With the open-hearted rashness that belongs to every true writer, Saviano returns to tell the story of the fierce and grieving heart of Naples”(Elena Ferrante).  In Naples, a new kind of gang rules the streets: the “Paranze”, the “Children’s Gangs”, groups of teenage boys who divide their time between Facebook or playing Call of Duty on their PlayStations and patrolling the streets armed with pistols and AK-47’s, terrorizing local residents in order to mark out the territories of their Mafia bosses. Roberto Saviano’s eye-opening novel “The  Piranhas” tells the story of the rise of one such gang and its leader, Nicolas – known to his friends and enemies as the “Maharajah”. But Nicolas’s ambitions reach far beyond doing other men’s bidding: he wants to be the one giving orders, calling the shots, and ruling the city. Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma, Italy



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