Italian literary superstar Niccolò Ammaniti’s debut novel, I’m Not Scared, prompted gushing praise, hit international best-seller lists, and was made into a smash indie film. With his highly anticipated follow-up, Ammaniti takes his unparalleled empathy for children, his scythe-sharp observations, and his knack for building tension to a whole new level. In a tiny Italian village, a young boy named Pietro is growing up tormented by bullies and ignored by his parents. When an aging playboy, Graziano Biglia, returns...
Italian literary superstar Niccolò Ammaniti’s debut novel, I’m Not Scared, prompted gushing praise, hit international best-seller lists, and was made into a smash indie film. With his highly anticipated follow-up, Ammaniti takes his unparalleled empathy for children, his scythe-sharp observations, and his knack for building tension to a whole new level. In a tiny Italian village, a young boy named Pietro is growing up tormented by bullies and ignored by his parents. When an aging playboy, Graziano Biglia, returns to town, a change is in the air: Pietro decides to take on the bullies, his lonely teacher Flora finds romance with the town’s prodigal son, and the inept janitor at the school proclaims his love for his favorite prostitute. But the village isn’t ready for such change, and when Graziano seduces and forgets Flora, both she and Pietro’s tentative hopes seem crushed forever. With great tenderness, Ammaniti shines light on the heart-wrenching failures and quiet redemptions of ordinary people trying to live extraordinary lives. I’ll Steal You Away is a fresh and classic story of a boy learning to be a man that delivers on the promise of Ammaniti’s acclaimed debut.
Ammaniti, author of novel-turned-film I'm Not Scared (2003), offers another tale of smalltown southern Italy, this time juxtaposing the growing pains of 12-year-old Pietro Moroni, a "small for his age" kid frequently targeted by bullies, with the romantic prowling of Graziano Biglia, a washed-up flamenco guitarist who returns to his hometown after having his heart broken by a stripper. The novel, narrated in a quasi call-and-response ("His life is sex, drugs and... flamenco. But what's wrong with that? Sure, many people would hate a life like mine. Drifting. Rootless. But I like it") feels awkward at first, but once the reader settles in, Hunt's translation adds welcome depth to seemingly simple folk: Pietro, hungry for social acceptance, gets tricked into vandalizing his school and must suffer the consequences; Graziano, forever scheming an entr e to the big time, loves and leaves skittish schoolteacher Flora Palmieri. Flora, burdened with caring for her sick mother and ill-equipped to deal with the intense fallout from her relationship with Graziano, quickly falls apart once her seducer disappears. Chilling and intimate, Ammaniti's work brings life to a deceptively quiet town and its wealth of eclectic and unsettling residents. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Following the phenomenal success of his third novel, I'm Not Scared, comes the English translation of Italian novelist Ammaniti's second effort. Set in the secluded village of Ischiano Scalo, the story follows the everyday struggles of two very human characters. Twelve-year-old Pietro Moroni leads a bitter-sweet life as the best friend of the school's most sought-after girl, though he's plagued by bullies, an absent mother, and an abusive father. Graziano Biglia is a hometown hero and aging lothario lost after having been used and unceremoniously discarded by a struggling prima donna. This coming-of-age tale is as much about the adolescent boy as the middle-aged man, but while Pietro eventually stands up for himself and takes responsibility for his actions, Graziano learns too late from his mistakes. Although the book deals with heavy issues, the 400-plus pages flow effortlessly. A surprise ending will blow readers away. Recommended for academic libraries and public libraries with large fiction collections.-Karen Walton Morse, Univ. at Buffalo Libs., NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The tale of an ordinary boy, lonely, sweet and introspective, driven toward a singularly dark coming of age. Twelve-year-old Pietro dreams of deliverance. A brutal father, a neglecting mother and an oafish brother addicted to heavy metal and motocross enshadow Pietro's poetic soul, aquiver with love for Gloria, the loveliest and richest girl in town. And what a town. Italian author Ammaniti (I'm Not Scared, 2003) peoples the nowheresville of Ischiano Scalo with wondrous citizenry-among them, Pierini, snarling "alpha hunting dog" of Michelangelo Buonarrotti junior high; Italo, the school's diabetic, lame caretaker, besotted with a porkish prostitute; and redheaded Flora, a no-nonsense teacher fretting over her mother's stomach cancer. Returning home to this hamlet is Graziano, a 40ish former-hunk troubadour who couldn't quite make the big-time playing Santana and Gipsy Kings cover tunes. Exhausted by the wastrel life, he's bringing back to mama his new bride, a sizzling, bitchy TV starlet. Won't the hicks be dazzled! But when she dumps him, Graziano sniffs out Flora. The playboy's and the lonely boy's lives intersect: Coerced by Pierini, Pietro has trashed Flora's classroom in an act of reluctant vandalism and, after elaborate plot twists, the teacher will end up drowned in a bath tub-Pietro to blame. How he pines still for Gloria, how Italo plots revenge for the schoolhouse crime, how Graziano suffers, all make for edge-of-the-seat reading. Yet Ammaniti is more than a red-hot storyteller: his delineation of Pietro's agonized adolescence and Graziano's ridiculous, moving midlife crisis, his cinematic descriptions of village atmosphere and custom, the way he portrays Italy's fabled oldloveliness with its desperate embrace of Americanized pop culture, qualify him as an astute psychologist and sharp social critic. Teems with incident, wit and pathos.