Mark Spano reviews John Domini’s latest book, and interviews the author, for Ovunque Siamo.


Naples is a mean, dirty town, probably one of the toughest places in Europe. John Domini’s new book, The Color Inside the Melon is a crime story set in the immigrant demimonde of present-day Naples. Called the City of the Sun, Naples is earth-quake prone, crowded next to a volcano, crammed with five hundred churches, congested with a cacophony of vehicles,  and is also teeming with nearly a million lives lived in the shadows.

Domini’s book is more più nero (the blackest) than merely “noir.” The reader is following a main character who has taken on the challenge to find out who killed a friend in a place where survival is challenge enough. Risto, an African is from Mogadishu Somalia, and is plagued by flashbacks from having witnessed his younger brother’s decapitation. Despite his numerous and extraordinary adversities, he has, with the support of his Neapolitan wife, made a life for himself as an art dealer in Naples. Theirs is a netherworld of polymorphous sex and frequent and often random violence.

Risto is an art dealer, trading in photography of the harshest images in the lives of those immigrants struggling to survive in Naples. These photos are intricately articulated horrors. The beauty that reigned so long in Italian art no longer reigns in the art of modern-day Naples. Risto’s art, like his quest to resolve and understand the murder of his friend, is both a dark and ugly pursuit.

With such a story, as a reviewer, I feel obliged to caution the prospective reader while not spoiling the plot…

Click here to read the entire review and the interview with John Domini at Ovunque Siamo.