Let the Games Begin

Let the Games Begin

4.0 3
by Niccolo Ammaniti, Kylee Doust
     
 

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You are invited to attend the most decadent fete of the century. Italian high-society and international celebrities are gathered at Villa Ada, once a sprawling public park, now the largest private home in Rome. The host, a rags-to-riches tycoon, has planned an extraordinary wild animal safari—the party to end all parties.

Among the guests is Fabrizio Ciba,

Overview


You are invited to attend the most decadent fete of the century. Italian high-society and international celebrities are gathered at Villa Ada, once a sprawling public park, now the largest private home in Rome. The host, a rags-to-riches tycoon, has planned an extraordinary wild animal safari—the party to end all parties.

Among the guests is Fabrizio Ciba, a neurotically charming author struggling to write his next great literary tome in order to rebuild his reputation. In an unexpected turn of events, he crosses paths with a beautiful, enigmatic pop singer and the Wilde Beasts of Abaddon, a fledgling satanic sect planning her demise in exchange for global fame. The world outside the mansion gates is soon forgotten, and all rules of civility are broken. What was intended as the most spectacular night quickly descends into apocalyptic chaos as the excesses of modern life are indulged to extremes. What mayhem will ensue once the games begin?

Internationally best-selling author Niccolò Ammaniti strikes a masterful balance between farce and tragedy as he brings a rapturous dose of anarchic absurdity to this portrait of a status-obsessed, self-indulgent society. A calamitous, supercharged, and wildly enjoyable satire, Let the Games Begin will surprise, delight, and frighten.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sometimes warmhearted, sometimes shockingly offensive, and much of the rest of the time very funny, Ammaniti’s (I’m Not Scared) new novel is like a rich, delicious stew with a few pieces of spoiled meat included for good measure. Saverio Moneta is a Satanist whose sect, the Wilde Beasts of Abbadon, is in trouble after shrinking to just four members, including the plump Roberto Morsillo (nicknamed “Murder”) and “Zombie,” who has digestive problems. Silvia, the fourth member, joins up after escaping from being buried alive by the group. Saverio’s solution to their diminishing numbers is to concoct an ambitious plan involving Larita, a singer who recently had a religious conversion. Meanwhile, Fabrizio Ciba, a popular author, is having trouble writing the great novel he knows he’s capable of. When he and the Beasts meet at one of the most lavish parties modern Rome has ever seen, any number of things can happen—and they do. This book pulls off a rare feat: an action-packed but well-paced satire populated with characters rather than caricatures. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

"This book pulls off a rare feat: an action-packed but well-paced satire populated with characters rather than caricatures" —Publishers Weekly

"[A] raunchy, satirical romp." —Ian Rankin, author of the Inspector Rebus series

"Let the Games Begin may well be the print version of La Dolce Vita set today." —L'Unità

"Niccolò Ammaniti has constructed a novel you will not easily forget, rescuing the genius of Federico Fellini to mix chaos, social criticism and chronic human frailties . . . A fast-paced, fevered comedy . . . Ammaniti is the most gifted writer of his generation." —El Mundo

"Brilliant, smooth, neurotic, and at times scathing." —Le Monde

"A bittersweet book where you laugh knowing that there really isn’t anything to laugh about." —La Repubblica

Library Journal
Bumbling Satanists, celebrity murder plots, rampaging elephants, subterranean former Olympic athletes—this is not a subtle book. The setting is contemporary Rome —"Rome appeared like an enormous dirty blanket encrusted with diamonds"—and the cast is large. A working-class real estate magnate has purchased Villa Ada, once a public park and now a large private home, and is celebrating by throwing a party for the rich and beautiful. Members of the Wilde Beasts of Abaddon sect pose as caterers at the party in order to kill a pop star. Meanwhile, an anxiety-ridden author attending the event thinks he will find salvation there. Italian novelist Ammaniti (I’m Not Scared) gleefully sets the stage and then lets things go hilariously awry. The story moves at a manic pace, with much sex and food strewn throughout; the depiction of women is absurd (and occasionally cruel) but fits with the satirical tone. What keeps this work from being mere spoof is how Ammaniti tempers the caricatures with quotes from Hamlet and plants believable existential pain in his character's lives.

Verdict Not all readers will see the male characters’ eccentricity as charming, but as a romp this will find an international audience.—Travis Fristoe, Alachua Cty. Lib. Dist., Gainesville, FL
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
In contemporary Rome, a satanic caper implodes in this latest from the well-regarded Italian (Me and You, 2012, etc.). When is a satanic sect no longer a sect? When it's down to three losers and an uncharismatic leader. The Wilde Beasts of Abaddon would accept that harsh judgment. The four Romans are dejected and spiritless. Other disciples have quit. When they sacrificed a student and buried her alive, she dug her way out; then Silvietta became the girlfriend of Murder, another acolyte (Stockholm syndrome?). Their leader, Saverio, blames himself for their troubles. Henpecked by his wife, humiliated by his father-in-law (he manages his furniture store), he needs a release for his submerged hate. Then an opportunity arrives. The celebrity singer Larita, a convert to Christianity from Satanism, is the star attraction at an event where the Beasts will be moonlighting. They'll behead her with the sword Saverio's bought on eBay and then kill themselves. Their deliberations need a light touch which Ammaniti doesn't quite achieve. Nor is it helpful that he develops a parallel storyline about the best-selling novelist Fabrizio Ciba. An unappealing narcissist with writer's block, Fabrizio reflects Italian publishing's fierce infighting but adds little to the mix. The storylines converge at a spectacular event organized by Chiatti, a real estate mogul and avatar of relentless vulgarity. He has bought one of Rome's oldest parks to stage not just Larita's concert, but three separate hunts (fox, tiger and lion). The Beasts' silly scheme dissolves in squabbling over the suicide pact and, anyway, is overshadowed by the ruckus of the hunts. Fabrizio and Larita are thrown off an elephant; an art dealer is eaten by crocodiles; and in a surreal twist, defecting Soviet athletes and their subhuman spawn, living in the catacombs since the 1960 Rome Olympics, emerge to wreak havoc. A novel that veers out of control, obliterating its setup and dulling Ammaniti's admired edge as a satirist.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802121110
Publisher:
Canongate U.S.
Publication date:
08/06/2013
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.08(h) x 0.95(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Niccolò Ammaniti was born in Rome in 1966. He has written two collections of short stories and six novels, four of which have been translated into English. His second novel, I'll Steal You Away, was long listed for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. He was the youngest ever winner of the Italian Viareggio Literary Prize for Fiction for his best-selling novel I'm Not Scared, which has been translated into thirty-five languages. As God Commands received the prestigious Premio Strega Prize in 2007, and his novel Me and You was made into a feature film by Bernardo Bertolucci.

Kylee Doust [translator] studied Italian literature and linguistics at La Trobe University, Melbourne. She has lived in Italy since 1998.

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Let the Games Begin 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could use a little work, otherwise ok job
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pretty good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like it