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Me and You Paperback – February 7, 2012
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Reprising the childish perspective and sinister psychological freightedness of Ammaniti’s international best-seller I’m Not Scared (2002), this novel, already a best-seller in Italy, sees Ammaniti in familiar form. Its world is a narrow one, constrained by the perspective of antisocial Lorenzo Cumi and made up, for the most part, of only the cellar room he inhabits while his parents think he is on a trip with friends. Lorenzo, diagnosed at one point with narcissistic personality disorder, is delineated with sensitivity and skill. He is 14, uninterested in or incapable of connecting with people, and eager for a week’s solitary refuge. When his troubled half sister, Olivia, shows up, though, they are both forced, rather dramatically, to confront and perhaps begin to overcome their respective weaknesses and evasions. The pacing of the novel is odd and sometimes forced, and there is something a bit false and impoverished at its center, though that could charitably be seen as an authentic expression of the narrator’s sociopathic tendencies. Still, its sensational emotionalism and claustrophobic intensity make this an undeniably engaging (and quick) read. --Meg Kinney
"Immensely engaging . . . Both tender and emotionally arresting, Ammaniti's novel is unforgettable." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[Niccolo Ammaniti] elegizes adolescence fiercely and sympathetically. His 14-year-old hero, Lorenzo Cumi, is a great character, part Young Werther, part Kurt Cobain . . . [Me and You] is scary, lovely and at last a heartbreaker.” Kirkus Review
[Ammaniti] writes with an unadorned style about moral predicaments of the young in small-town Italy . . . Lorenzo reminds an American reader of . . . other teenage misfits from Holden Caulfield to Colin in Alan Sillitoe’s Loneliness of a Long-Distance Runner.” The Arts Fuse
Italian author Niccolo Ammaniti does a lot in 160 pages, including surprise, humor, and frighten yousometimes simultaneously.” Daily Candy
Ammaniti’s prose is nimble, perceptive and economical . . . There’s a lot to love about this bookits reticent empathy, its delicate and pragmatic treatment of addiction, its remarkable use of restricted physical space.” Full Stop
Me and You takes a short time to read but offers a memorable experience in a mutual recognition of loneliness and grief.” Curled Up with a Good Book
Praise for Niccolo Ammaniti
Exuberant and audacious.” Observer (UK)
The new Italian word for talent is Ammaniti.” The Times (UK)
A fearsomely gifted writer.” Independent (UK)
A master storyteller.” Guardian (UK)
Europe’s hottest novelist.” Kirkus Reviews
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Top Customer Reviews
Speaking of small spaces, most of this story takes place in a cellar. How the writer manages to turn a claustrophobic situation into a hot adventure story, I’ll never know, but I’m telling you, he does—with cleverness and grace. And even though the story is dark, there are poignant moments where there is light, however brief.
An alienated 14-year-old, Lorenzo, manages to trick his parents and hide away in a cellar for a week. In walks his half-sister, full of trouble, tremors, and demands. They both are loners and they both have secrets. They push each other’s buttons, and each of them ends up way out of their comfort zone. I don’t want to spoil it by revealing anything more. I will say that Ammaniti delivers zap, not sap, so there isn’t an ounce of Hallmark to be found. The ending is clever, profound, and unexpected. It’s a tight little story that left me shaking my head in admiration of this fine writer.
The translation is generally okay, although there is an occasional tense problem (“fitted” instead of “fit”, for instance). And the translator called the half-sister a step-sister many times. A small nit, but very annoying.
I liked this book so much, I reordered my To Read list and immediately started another Ammaniti book called “I’m Not Scared.” I’ve been told it’s darker, so I’m bracing myself. At this point, Ammaniti would really have to mess up for me to leave his fan club.
I’ll be recommending “Me and You” to friends galore, for sure. 5 stars, without question.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I just read this start to finish this afternoon .
How did I not see that coming?