RaveThe Guardian (UK)... the book has a huge supporting cast: some are familiar because of later literary exploits (Primo Levi, Natalia Ginzurg and Oriana Fallaci), but even the minor characters—like the stubbornly kind nun of the city’s gruesome prison—are memorably portrayed ... The narrative is told with such verve that I frequently had goosebumps ... The melancholy coda, recounting what happened to the women—accidents, politicking, writing and addiction—completes a riveting read.
Roberto Saviano, Trans. by Antony Shugaar
MixedThe TimesThe Piranhas is a readable jumble of \'j’accuse\' and academia, of highfalutin phrase-making and mean-streets action ... There are guns and girls (there’s a bit of a love story with Letizia). It all sounds authentic, but the pace is pretty idling—there are paragraphs that continue over two pages. Some of the sentences wouldn’t get past the first day of a creative writing course ... The plot isn’t bad. Things happen, even if the smooth ascent of our anti-hero is a bit James Bond at times ... The reason it annoys the reader is that occasionally you get hints of decent writing. You sense, for a page or two, that it’s going to get all Elmore Leonard—fast, precise and funny—but then it suddenly goes saggy again, and you wonder if Saviano has become such an iconic writer that no one dares to edit him any more.