Review of Inerti by Barbara Giangravè

September 9, 2016

inerti-barbara-giangrave-coverThis book tells about a true story as a fiction, rather, it is a fictional work written to talk about a true story. Inerti, indeed, is the debut novel of a talented Italian journalist, Barbara Giangravè, who used the material collected during her journalistic inquiries to write a sharp and compelling book about a burning topic: the countries poisoned for wastes buried underground. I have already reviewed a similar book on the same topic, namely Dead for Duty, the true story of Roberto Mancini,  but while the latter was set in Naples, along the Italian boot in the region of Campania, the book I reviewed here was set in a little town in Sicily.

This town does not exist in reality, but according to the detailed descriptions made by the author , it should lie near the city of Syracuse. The fictional town is Acremonte. Currently, the book has only an Italian version, but I hope it will be translated into English very soon. Moreover The Title “Inerti” has a double meaning in Italian, inerti are toxic wastes and people also called coward in English! If I should translate the book, I would use the title “Wastes” because it is the right title to describe the plot. By the way, the gripping and touching plot tells about a young woman, Gioia, who was abruptly fired by the company where she worked.

The company was based in Palermo. Gioia is an orphan because her parents died in a strange car accident when she was only a teen girl. After being fired , Gioia decides to come back to the birth town, namely Acremonte, a small city with very few inhabitants and a very beautiful countryside. During the days that Goia spends in her town, very strange things occur, a lot of Goia’s relatives and friends dies of cancer or are about to die from this disease. Gioia, thus, notices that it is unnatural that in a countryside town there are so many people dead for cancer, also children! From this mindfulness, Gioia begins her long personal journey to discover the truth about the cancer cases in her town, delving into the dark side of a small Sicilian town where silence and resignation are like walls impossible to break down.

Thanks her endless courage, Gioia discovers that people with cancer was poisoned by wastes buried by the Sicilian Mafia inside the farmlands surrounding the city of Acremonte and that, maybe, her parents didn’t die in a car accident, but they were murdered because they discovered the same awkward truth of Gioia. And it is thanks to this novel, that the author unravels another burning Italian issue, namely the waste traffic that two Italian criminal organizations, the Camorra and the Mafia, conducted in the South of Italy. The author wrote this novel just thanks to the upsetting revelations of a former camorra boss: Carmine Schiavone.

The latter said that while the Camorra poisoned some towns in Campania in the early 1980s, the Mafia poisoned some towns in Sicily already by 1970s. I really hope this book will be helpful to open new inquiries about this dirty waste traffic that killed and is still killing innocent and unaware people. Too many people, indeed, were poisoned for toxic wastes illegally buried on the farmlands where fruits and vegetables were even grown and sold.

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