Let the Games Begin by Niccolò Ammaniti
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"Let the games begin" (Italian edition published in 2009; English edition published in 2013) is a novel by Italian author Niccolò Ammaniti, a member of the '90s literary group known as the "Cannibals".
The tale is hunting, somewhat blaspheme, captivating; it is the perfect balance between realism and fiction. A millionaire party is organized in a historical Villa in Rome and all Italian famous VIPs are invited to join an absurdly rich and weird hunting party that will end in disaster. The resulting image is a truthful and disgusting snapshot of an old Italy that is exploited, tired, exhausted.
Saverio, a frustrated father and husband, finds himself head of a satanist group of four, his adepts being weirdos and unlikely dark souls. Fabrizio, a famous writer with a narcissistic soul, is stuck between the fear of losing his privileged status and the paranoid delusion of being the best of them all. Their lives will run parallel in a climax building until they will clash in an explosion of bitterness and injustice. The reader will be left with a sense of vengeance for a beautiful country suffering of a prolonged carelessness.
The author Niccolò Ammaniti (1966) was born in Rome and he became famous in 2001 with his best seller "I'm not scared" that is a major movie picture now. Ammaniti's voice speaks for his generation, including myself and everyone belonging to the so called "Generation X". As an emerging writer I wish one day I will be able to express myself just like him, with a fluidity and a sarcasm that hits the target and lingers in the heart. "Let the games begin" is a good reading exercise for emerging writers as there can be found all the basic rules of novel construction. Two parallel narrative lines grow separately, a crucible forces the characters together and gives credibility to their coexistence even if they have to face harder and nastier obstacles. The resolution comes when the climax reaches its top and the reader is left with lots to think about.
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