Monday, August 08, 2005

August - Penguin
Betrayal in Naples
Neil Griffiths – Penguin, £7.99
Thank God we enjoyed this book, because there is nothing worse than having to justify your disappointment to the author.
First, the book: a great adventure. An Englishman on holiday, attracted by Naples’ seedy reputation, meets an ex-girlfriend in the street. She offers to show him around town, but first, dinner with her much older husband, president of the court of murder in Naples, currently presiding over a high-profile Camorra murder trial. And so it begins…
Naples, the star of the story, is luscious, the food is too, and you will want to visit until page 331, when you will re-book somewhere less dangerous. Jim Wolf, the Englishman on holiday, is a superbly written everyman, a perfect foil for the supremely complicated – or maybe just silly - ex-girlfriend, Louisa.
Now, Neil Griffiths. He’s a member of The Hospital, so he popped in for a Q and A, which was fascinating – perhaps mostly because it showed up how much extra the reader brings to a story. In a deliberately Neapolitan way, Neil left parts of the story open to interpretation, we interpreted our hearts out – everybody having different opinion, and the book being richer as a result of our joining the dots ourselves. Definitely read it, and read the French version too, if you can, because it ends differently.

Who: Neil Griffiths
What: Betrayal in Naples
When: August 2005
Where: London, Sardinia
Why: The Hospital book club


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