An orphan boy of eleven abandoned to the streets and slums of Naples – yet the shocking squalor could be any outskirts from Rio to Marseilles – faces an extreme and desperate fight for existence every day of his young life. Rosario has never known any form of tenderness or love in the world into which he was born. Its society of adults, without future or hope, has denied him even the basic right to childhood.
Of course Rosario soon falls easy prey to the local camorra bosses who have bigger, more ruthless ideas for him than the petty stealing he uses to get by. In the past, if he had been forced to brutality in the streets, it was just to get what he needed to survive. His only moment of tenderness is the loving care he devotes to his grandmother, bedridden and demented, who lives with him in their dark home.
But today he is on a special job. And Rosario’s interminable subway ride is drawn out to unbearable suspense and tension. It carries him to a destination unknown to us, yet one whose mounting horror makes us want to scream inside.
Moments, fragments, joys and sorrows of the little boy’s universe flood his mind and thoughts. His street gang and their suicidal wagers against death, football matches, his breathless love for sixteen-year-old Caterina, the flickering arcade “Las Vegas”, his favorite fast food bar. There is also his admiration for Santino, a social worker who is everything he would like to be. The impossible desire for another life.
As Rosario is carried to his fate, as inexorably as to this life to which he has so unjustly been condemned, we can only cry out that he is innocent. And it is this unconquerable innocence that makes the hope of a child indestructible. To hope against all odds. For the return to a garden, to playing ball and laughing until your stomach hurts, amidst the crumbling walls.…
From the novel by Diego De Silva.