Andrej Longo’s book is Ten: a collection of short stories told at breakneck pace in the homes, backstreets and clubs of the city of Naples. It has been longlisted for the Bagutta Prize and the Premio Nazionale di Narrativa Bergamo.
The stories range widely across a city made up of young and old, the super-rich and the destitute, those whose activities are both legal and illegal, the abused and the abusers. Longo writes about a nightclub star, fallen on hard times, forced to work as a drug tester for the local Mafia, and three friends named after exclusive brands - Ray Ban, Rolex and Panzaretto - who use their knives as free tickets for the subway.
Longo makes excellent use of his intimacy with Naples in his collection. He shows so many different facets of the city that a very clear and vivid picture emerges and the reader begins to feel they too have been to bars, travelled on the trains and walked the streets he describes. Naples is portrayed as a city of sin (Ten is named after the Ten Commandments, with a commandment inspiring, and being violated in, each one of the stories) but also of love, and the diversity in the collection is perhaps its greatest strength.
Andrej Longo writes for film, radio and theatre. When he isn’t writing he works as a pizza chef in his home city.
Ten was in the running for our 2013 First Book Award.