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Let the Games Begin [Paperback]

Niccolo Ammaniti , Kylee Doust
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
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Book Description

1 Aug 2013

WARNING: Contains Satanic cults, intoxicated supermodels, Olympic refugees and man-eating hippos

The world might be in the throes of a global recession but when an author on the brink of despair, an enigmatic musician, a supermodel and a Satanic sect meet with the cream of Italian high society at the home of a Roman property tycoon, the world outside the mansion's walls is soon forgotten. There's going to be one hell of a party. And you've got a VIP ticket.

Ammaniti's latest baroque masterpiece is an invite to the party to end all parties. But what mayhem will ensue when the games begin?

With all the verve of The Bonfire of the Vanities and Glamorama, this calamitous, supercharged and wildly enjoyable novel pulls no punches in its satire of the excesses of modern life.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (1 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847679412
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847679413
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.6 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 364,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


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

Exuberant and audacious. (Observer)

A master storyteller. (Guardian)

Ammaniti's novel is both riotous and astute. You start off desperate for an invite to the party, and end up very glad you're in bed reading instead (Amy Adams Stylist)

This is a wonderfully ironic and entertaining book, thanks to its lively cinematic dialogues and constant references to current society. We are projected into a circus of vaguely familiar events, and the finale offers hope for true social, political and personal development through radical change (Emilio Ippolito Independent)

Ammaniti's satire is delivered with a broad brush but it hits the mark all the same, and he's clearly having a lot of fun at the expense of his characters, delivering up debauchery on an epic scale. It's easy to see why this outrageous novel has been a hit with readers in Italy, and I think Ammaniti can expect plenty more sales over here too (Doug Johnstone Big Issue)

Supremely ridiculous, yet brilliant (Curious Book Fans)

The novel takes twists and turns only a master of his craft can meld with such skill. ... The Italian vocabulary makes some paragraphs beautifully lyrical and his structure makes for comfortable reading. ... Burn the rule book and revel in absurdity (Utter Biblio)

Book Description

The prize-winning international bestseller from the author of I'm Not Scared

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Shallow 29 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
OK story, reasonable quality writing but didn't set the world on fire. Some bits rather unlikely others a bit predictable
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The back jacket warns that this book contains 'satanic cults, intoxicated supermodels, olympic athletes and man-eating hippos'. This warning should be taken seriously - it's a novel in which, unlike Ammaniti's other works, it's not possible really to suspend disbelief.

Against that background, the novel is undoubtedly fun. There are two strands, one concerning the leader of a struggling satanic cult who is looking for a way to make an impact, the other concerning a struggling novelist, looking among other things for an attractive woman to invite to his summer retreat and to find a way to get on with his next novel. Alternate chapters give the narratives (which eventually come together) - each has tremendous verve and comic flair.

I have preferred Steal You Away, I'm Not Scared, and Crossroads, however...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Different to Ammaniti's previous work 17 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having really loved Ammaniti's previous novels and novellas, I was really looking forward to this one. Many of the features of his style are here. Fluidity, humour, flawed characters... And I found myself enjoying all this again.

The premise of the novel this time, though, was less grounded in reality and without wishing to be a plot spoiler, there is a revelation that is pure random and that seems to link parts of the work tenuously. This is a work of imagination that would work well on the screen, rather than a deft unravelling of tension in the style of I'm Not Scared.

It's perhaps unfair to compare an author's works side by side as they attempt to achieve different objectives. I enjoyed reading this very much but, for my tastes, the storyline was too much to the leftfield with sudden introductions to be placed at the forefront of what Ammaniti has produced.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun & a must-read for Ammaniti fans, but not his best. 7 Aug 2013
By sdk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ammaniti is at it again, with a social satire that skewers elites of all flavors: political, cultural, culinary, athletic, you name it. For my money, he is the unrivaled master of this game in our time. As with his other books (especially, As God Commands/The Crossroads), class division and hypocrisy are central. His sympathies are clearly with the fallen working classes, notwithstanding any Satanist leanings. Truthfully, in Let the Games Begin, unlike in Ammaniti's other books available in English translation, most of the characters are caricatures, with the exception of the two "protagonists," Ciba and Saverio/Mantos. [For example, who could ever forget Quattro Formaggi in As God Commands?] In alternating chapters, the story follows these two: Ciba, a successful (though never successful enough!) writer and Saverio/Mantos, a wannabe provincial high priest of Satanism whose day job is, miserably, to sell furniture for his father-in-law. Their paths cross when Ciba attends the party-of-the-century thrown for all of Roman celebrity by a real estate baron who has managed to obtain a public park and turn it into a luxury, private Safari-land. Mantos and his cohorts agree to temp for the party's caterer so they can kidnap and sacrifice a former heavy metal diva who has committed the mortal sin of converting to popular music. Don't ask. In fact, forget the whole silly plot. Although amusing, it is largely beside the point. The point is to show us what we have become. Ciba appears to be conflicted, but do his self-awareness and value conflicts redeem him in any way? The climactic scenes take place at this mega-party, set in a (real) Roman park, Villa Ada, that (fictionally) was privatized by corrupt politicians. According to the Acknowledgements (presumably written in 2009), Villa Ada truly is "in a terrible state of decay. One of the last green lungs of a metropolis smothered by smog and stunned by noise is about to die." Well, rest assured, Ammaniti will let nature take a little revenge before it bows out. Bottom line: this book is a fun read, a kind of wild ride, and Ammaniti's finger is still firmly on the pulse of western society (though, in 2009, still pre-crisis?). As he says "See you next time." Yes, he will.
2.0 out of 5 stars Get his "I'm not scared" instead 23 Nov 2013
By Laura - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Don't judge a book by its cover". For the first time in my life, this saying applies.
Unlike his "I'm not scared" it did not draw me in, on the contrary. Do read the entire sample first. And if you like it, good for you! If not, get his "I'm not scared". It is infinitely better and definitely worth it.
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