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I'm Not Scared [Paperback]

Niccolo Ammaniti , Jonathan Hunt
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

15 Feb 2004

One relentlessly hot summer, six children explore the scorched wheat-fields that enclose their tiny Italian village. When the gang find a dilapidated farmhouse, nine-year-old Michele Amitrano makes a discovery so momentous he dare not tell a soul. It is a secret that will force Michele to question everything and everyone around him.

An unputdownable thriller, I'm Not Scared is also a devastatingly authentic portrayal of childhood and the tension when it must join the adult world.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main - Re-issue edition (15 Feb 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184195442X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841954424
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 12.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A deft masterpiece with never a false note. (Guardian)

I'm Not Scared is an exquisite parable. Ammaniti's short staccato sentences effectively describe the isolation and simplicity of rural subsistence, while long passages of direct dialogue touchingly portray the children's naïve perceptions. (Daily Telegraph)

Ammaniti's prose is faultless from the first . . . The brevity of his sentences, the clarity and perfection of each image, gives his novel some of the flavour of a child's picture book. (Independent on Sunday)

The new Italian word for talent is Ammaniti. (The Times)

Beneath this simplicity, Ammaniti weaves in the fairytale metaphors we know so well, giving the novel a haunting profundity. (Sunday Herald)

a strong and surprising rites of passage novel that leaves a legacy of thought and intrigue (Books for Keeps)

Book Description

A new cover edition of Ammaniti's intenationally bestselling literary thriller

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Michele Amitrano is living the life of a normal nine year old boy, in his tiny village of four houses, until one day, whilst completing a bet, he stumbles on something so secret and so unbelievable, he has no choice but to keep it all to himself. A discovery that challenges his view of his family, his friends, and ultimately sends him riding his bike down a dusty trail of blackmail, hatred and murder.

I picked up this book in a special edition copy for 99p, making it the cheapest book ever that kept me awake until the following morning. Ammaniti's nostalgic and painfully accurate portrayal of childhood is set against a devastating and heart rendering story of the bitterness and corruption of the real world, and of a society willing to do anything for a better way of life.

The portrayal of this world seen through a child's eyes, a child so real he lives on in the reader's mind long after the book is put down, adds a chilling aspect of innocence to an otherwise dark story. Ammaniti leads the reader seamlessly from an idealistic world and in one moment buries them in confusion and terror.

An excellent read! Buy it, read it, and let it live in your memory, and your bookcase reading to beautifully chill you again and again.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant and thought provoking, this book belies its appearance as a short, simply written novel. I loved its spare prose style as it made the events that happen even more stark and powerful. And it conjures up the nature of children's friendships really well, while drawing a vivid picture of Italian rural life. The intensity of the summer is reflected in the intensity of the book's events. On the surface it's a simply told tale, but also speaks of the betrayal of childhood and the nature of the parent-child relationship. The book turns on its head all notion of what is normal, with the essence of good and evil explored subtly and with devastating effect.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
When you discover the 'secret' behind our protagonist's accidental find, it will chill you to the bone - well, it did me. I read this book in 2 sittings and on the night in between, I was dreaming about it, so dark and dastardly are its machinations.

That said, I found this thrilling page-turner to be a bit of a let down as regards the ending. So many loose ends left untied, and such a sudden finish it's almost as if the author ran out of paper. Nonetheless, a dark-hearted tale with plenty of panache.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An antidote to Chiantishire 1 May 2007
The cover of this particular edition may be charmingly rustic, but the rural Italy of this short novel is entirely devoid of charm. It is flat, largely featureless, impoverished and peopled by people on the edge of criminality. Criminal or not, all its inhabitants dream of escaping to the tower blocks and diversions of the big city.

The story is narrated by a young boy who makes an alarming discovery outside an old abandoned house. Being very young, he does not immediately comprehend the meaning of his discovery, but as the days and weeks go by he is forced to confront a series of disturbing truths about all those around him.

This is short, a pacy read. The boy's voice is authentic and the setting believable. A bundled-up ending spoils what is otherwise a very good book.

Reportedly, the Italian film version (2003) was not bad either.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a small, great book you won't forget 24 Feb 2003
By A Customer
I am extremely pleased to see that this wonderful book has finally got its greatly deserved english translation. A literary sensation in Italy two years ago, Ammaniti's "I'm not scared" is a tale of an uspeakable crime, unfortunately still all too common in Italy: the kidnapping (for ransom) of a young kid from a rich family, his hiding, in inhumane conditions, in an abandoned shack somewhere in the wheat fields of Puglia. But it is also the tale of another kid, Michele, who during that summer will see his innocence and childhood smashed in the cruellest of ways, and will have to face moral dilemmas that go well beyond his years and his understanding.
While the originality and the power of the plot are striking, the real strength of the book lies, in my opinion, in the vivid descriptions that make places, emotions and events literally jump at you and envelop you in the torrid, claustrophobic, incomprehensible and frightening world that is Michele's in those hot summer days and nights. Ammaniti has an incredible talent for descriptions, but he also has an impressive 'eye' and 'ear' for childhood and this has to be one of the best books about childhood by and for adults that you read in years. A definite winner.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 9 Feb 2004
By A Customer
I picked this book purely by chance and started reading it without any preceptions as I had never heard of the author before and certainly never read any of his other works. Within the first couple of pages I realised that this was going to be one of those books that you simply can't put down! Set in Italy during one of the hottest summers of the 20th century, the story is told through the eyes of Michele, a 9 year-old boy, who lives in a tiny village with his younger sister, his mother and his frequently absent father. During the hot weather, the adults of the village stay indoors throughout the day and Michele, his sister and the local children are left to do as they please. They wander around the wheatfields, performing dares and taking forfeits. Killer pigs, little wash-bears and monsters are all part of their perceptions of the world around them but betrayal, fear, loyalty and social status are all very real powers within their lives. Whilst exploring at the edge of the gang's territory, Michele makes a terrible discovery and takes a course of action which underpins the whole novel. The author's ability to view the world through Michele's eyes is quite wonderful. The book was particulary poignant for me as I was the same age as Michele in the year the book is set (1978) and although our lives could not have been more different, it was enlightening to remember I too saw the world in the way he describes. In fact, I had forgotten how cruel and confusing childhood can be! As an adult reader, you make inferences which put the lives of the adults in a larger social context of the time but Michele, as a 9 year old, is too young to understand much of this and it is not stated in the novel, merely left for the reader to pick up. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book - although I guessed what was happening very early on!
Published 2 months ago by chattykat
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing read
I'm not going to describe the story, other have done that. I liked the style of writing, fast paced, not overly complicated or bombastic, dialogue was good. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Noodles
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a book I would recommend
I chose this rating because I didn't enjoy reading the book. I certainly didn't get to the bottom of what Michele's parents were up to or whether he died at the end of not. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. S. G. H. Green
4.0 out of 5 stars Tense and heart wrenching.
I adored this book, and the heart wrenching message it showed throughout. I've finished it feeling absolutely speechless and wondering where people's morals lie when it comes to... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ms. A. Graves
5.0 out of 5 stars the international bestseller
This is One of my best novels that I have read. I'm Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti is an International bestseller that has been translated from the Italian by Jonathan Hunt. Read more
Published 8 months ago by ireadnovels
5.0 out of 5 stars Never scared with Montalbano around
Fantastic Sicily. So full of intrigue, romance, dangerous villains, sultry signorinas, handsome policemen....................I'd go there anytime. What's not to love?
Published 9 months ago by June Dawes
3.0 out of 5 stars Loss of childish trust.
A young boy is challenged by his peers and thus accidentally makes a shocking discovery. This eventually leads to his realisation that those around him are acting heartlessly. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Rosalind Minett
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling
Beautifully written and perceptive insight into a harrowing tale of childhood. I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it as a good read.
Published 11 months ago by K. White
4.0 out of 5 stars Summer, Italian nostalgia and suspense
Twenty-two years later Michele looks back to that beautiful and awful summer in Tuscany when he was nine years old and was used to playing with the other children in the village... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Neasa MacErlean
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, just brilliant
I was blown away by this novel. I intended to read it over a 3 hour train journey but instead the hypnotic prose & suspense drew me in & I had finished it in little over an... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Lorna
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