Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Little Wagons by Crozier Green | ARC | A Book Review

The Little Wagons by Cozier Green ARC Book Review

As promised in my previous post, here again, is another festive picture to get into the holiday spirit. 

The Little Wagons is The Traumatic Birth of Sicily's Cosa Nostra in short, the Sicilian Mafia. Little wagons or carusi, mean the children that were sold by their parents to work in the sulphur mines. They collect and carry the sulphur back to the surface. They are the human rock-transporters. 

This book seemed like the longest book I have ever read. Probably, as long as A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez. It was lengthy yet very informative. It exhaustingly narrated how the what we now know as the infamous Italian mafia started -its very roots. It somehow made me understand the workings of the brotherhood as it was originally purported to be. Supposedly, it was created to promote equality and brotherhood. There is strength in brotherhood but alliances and loyalties could easily change. It is as volatile as burning sulphur. It could easily shift and turn just as fast as emptying a cup of beer. How to put equality in the picture, when you think about the mafia is a totally bizarre idea. This story will tell you what started as a very noble idea became twisted and equality was erased out of the equation. How the brotherhood catered and served only its elite members and how power was abused to its very core.

This was a difficult and bloody saga of Italian men born of poverty and despair, that in order to survive they had to do what is necessary. There was never a choice. The main character in this story, Tommaso di Bova, started as a carusi and advanced to become a pickman (picconieri) and then later became the head of the brotherhood (fratellanza). To become a pickman, he has to go through a baptism of fire and fight for his life. And before he became the rappresentante, he has to endure a lot of hardships, treachery, and tragedy. 

This story is painful, horrifying and tragic. It reminded me of how easily people could betray and kill for the sake of one's purposes and motives. How revenge could easily be the reason for breathing. How some people could change allegiance to maintain their status quo or to advance their dreams. How arrogance, selfishness, and greed could be the ticket to more material wealth but could also be the cause of downfall.

This is a very well-written story. It could have been the account of the original founders of the fratellanza. It was written in a very convincing and authentic way. Crozier Green is a master story-teller. His words were not flowery or too flamboyant but they carry the weight of their meaning. There was no fear of misunderstanding them. I don't know how else to describe this book but I was taken in and resistance was futile. It took no prisoners.

I give the book 5/5 little wagons. This made me think of the current college  and university fraternities in the Philippines. I think these fraternities could have taken its roots with the Italian idea of brotherhood. It hurts to think that to be included and embraced into this elite brotherhood, one has to go through a painful initiation. I think modern-day hazing could be traced back to the same idea of the Sicilians in this story. There have been a lot of deaths caused by hazing in fraternities. And like the vow of silence (omerta) fostered by the original fratellanza, some of those deaths have become casualties of this so-called brotherhood. 

...but passion would always come off second best to vengeance.

- Crozier Green, The Little Wagons - 

Release Date: December 9, 2016

Thanks again, Netgalley for the ARC.