Thursday, August 8, 2013

Naples '44 by Norman Lewis

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

I've been wanting to read this book for a while, so I was thrilled when I got to read a reissue.

Naples '44 is based on the diary of British soldier Norman Lewis, who was a part of the British Intelligence Corps in Naples after the Nazi occupation. Through Lewis' eyes we see the immediate after effects of the Nazi occupation, and through the next year we also see how the locals did what they had to to survive.

At first, the Italians are happy that the Nazis are gone, but there are some who do not care either way, and after a period of time, the Allies have pretty much worn out their welcome. You can see that the Italians just want their country back, and want to start rebuilding.

I really liked the culture clash we saw. Lewis wasn't afraid to admit that he didn't always understand the things that the locals did – the traditions and all that. He also wasn't afraid to admit a few blunders.

Towards the end of the account, Lewis has achieved a great respect for the Italians, and admires their strength. He even says that if he could be born another nationality, he would want to be born Italian, which shows how great his view of the Italians had grown over the year. He ends the account with his last day in Naples, and how he will miss it and the friends he made.

Naples '44 is essential reading for someone like me, who is absolutely fascinated with Italy during the war. Highly recommended, as it is very readable and not very long.