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I'm Not Scared Paperback – 15 Feb 2004


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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: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Simon Hembra on 13 April 2006
Format: Paperback
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 By J. Lamiri on 17 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
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 By JC on 1 May 2007
Format: Paperback
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By daisyrock on 1 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. V. Thomson on 23 May 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a little gem of a book which made me want to keep reading, in fact I read it all at one sitting as it is not a long book. I love the way the author shows an understanding of the way children view the world and the innocence of their actions. The main character, Michele is a wilful boy but is caring and kind and does what is right even though he is scared. The theme is about the bad things adults do and the mess they can get into, while the child sees instinctively what has to be done. I don't want to tell you the plot and spoil it for you but there is a warmth and poignancy in the story which will delight you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Øster on 19 May 2013
Format: Paperback
First off, I actually agree with a lot of what is written in the more positive reviews on this page. There is a lot to like here, and were it not for one huge glaring error (in my eyes at least) this novel would have been pretty enjoyable. The novel is written as a retrospective of a man who at the time of writing is at least 30 years old. This retrospective isn't used for anything other than making the final outcome of the novel a partial certainty and sucking a great deal of suspension out of the story. The author doesn't use this retrospective to reflect upon the happenings of the novel in anyway, and not even the age difference between the time of the events of the novel and the present in which the main character is telling his story, is in any way apparent. It could just as well have been told the weekend after the events of the book, and that just makes the retrospective seem like a pointless gimmick with little purpose other than referring to a skiing trip that happened later in the life of the main character.

Not an awful novel by any means, but with a little bit of clever editing, it could have been so much better.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Feb. 2003
Format: Hardcover
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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