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The Crossroads Paperback – 8 Jan 2009

2.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (8 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847670377
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847670373
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.2 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,365,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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

"A master storyteller." (Michael Dibdin Guardian)

"Exuberant and audacious." (Observer)

"A work of enviable, disturbing power. A tornado-book." (Le Point)

"Ammaniti's new novel grabs you by the throat and heart. Compelling." (Elle)

"Ammaniti is a gifted storyteller." (Jane Shilling The Times 2009-01-10)

"Offers an artful stitching of plots and cinematic, horror-dazed images, and Jonathan Hunt's translation is exemplary." (Ian Thompson Observer 2009-01-04)

"Fastpaced . . . [and] undeniably engaging." (Big Issue Scotland 2009-01-22)

"The Crossroads firmly places Niccolo Ammaniti as one of the leading Italian novelists of his generation." (Christian House Independent on Sunday)

"In a country where church and state remain indelibly linked, Ammaniti shows God as the ultimate arbiter of this struggle. Prayers materialise like dice throws resulting either in absolution or damnation. In fact, it would be hard to find a more inventive, incisive examination of faith, in all its forms, than this extraordinary work." (Christian House Independent on Sunday 2009-02-22)

"Hunt's translation is deft and fluent . . . The Crossroads is a black thriller with the momentum of an action-packed Hollywood movie, and it makes for engrossing if unsettling and even terrifying reading." (Joseph Farrell Times Literary Supplement 2009-04-03)

Review

"A gruelling piece of fun…Ammaniti is a fearsomely gifted writer." (The Independent)

"Written with pace and a precision that is crafted with care and intelligence." (Weekend Press)

"Niccolò Ammaniti is one of Italy's brightest literary stars. His fiction combines tense horror with the blackest comedy and displays a knowing intelligence." (The Observer) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Cristiano's life with his father may not be the best, but he's not prepared to give it up. At thirteen, he knows he's leaving school to work with his father, and all that's important is keeping his social worker happy so that he doesn't get taken away. Cristiano's father, Rino, and his two friends Quattro Formaggi and Danilo Aprea are not as happy with their lives, especially when their manual labor jobs are given over to foreign workers. So Danilo decides to launch the perfect crime, and on one stormy night, the men attempt to put the plan into action. None of them foresee the consequences.

At first, I will admit that I wasn't as drawn into this book as I was with I'm Not Scared. At one point Cristiano writes an essay about how Hitler was good and how foreigners are bad, and I wasn't sure at all I was going to like this book. That, however, soon ended, and about halfway through the crime was attempted, and then I couldn't put this book down. What happened after that was completely unpredictable and totally gripping, and I had to read on to see what happened.

Despite Cristiano's and Rino's attitudes, too, I could see the bitterness that drove them. They're not educated enough to understand why certain things are wrong, so even though I didn't always like them or agree with them at all, at least I knew where they were coming from and how they came to have the wrong ideas. I could blame the system, rather than the people, for their ignorant and terrifying attitudes. And the father-son relationship was incredibly heartwarming and realistic. They don't always know what they're doing or why they're doing it, but they really love each other in the midst of all their hardships.

Really, this book is all about the failure of "the system".
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Format: Kindle Edition
After reading Niccolo Ammaniti's I'm Not Scared, which was full of elegant prose, subtle characterisation and a cleverly constructed story, I was excited when I found Crossroads in my local bookshop. I even paid £10.99 for the pleasure. But I'm still questioning if it was worth it.

In the first 10 pages, I knew that this wasn't the Ammaniti book I was expecting. Straight off the bat, the violence, the gritty realism and the effing and blinding jumped off the page, in an explosive introduction to the main characters. All preconceptions were immediately dispelled. (It's always dangerous to expect a certain style of writing from an author - it often leads to disappointment.) I gradually began to enjoy the shocks and general bleakness of this cartoon like assortment of oddball characters.

The story follows a teenage boy, Cristiano Zena, who lives a squalid existence in a pre-fab house that his alcoholic, nazi loving father, Rino, built while a construction worker years before. Rino has a rag tag pair of friends, Danilo and Quattro Formaggi (because he loves that flavour of pizza) each of whom has fallen on hard times and join Rino, the aggressive and unpredictable leader, for drinking sessions and half heated attempts to get labouring work.

This is a book of interweaving stories, all connecting to this trio of adults who have a plan to ram raid a cash machine, split the loot and make better lives for themselves. In great heist-gone-wrong tradition, nothing goes as planned and everyone's lives are affected dramatically as a result.
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Format: Paperback
If I could sum up Niccolo Ammaniti's latest novel in one word it would simply be ENGROSSING! From its shocking opening (which instantly imbues the reader with a firm notion of the wayward characteristics of two of the principle characters), to the flick of the final page, I found myself riveted by The Crossroads as it took me on a veritable `roller-coaster ride' where the plot twists and turns to almost vomit inducing levels.

It's perhaps appropriate that I mention `vomit' because The Crossroads is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Although its integral to the story (something which becomes apparent as reading progresses), the novel is gratuitously violent and shockingly sexual at times, but the powerful pace of the action, coupled with the quality of Ammaniti's prose (and Johnathan Hunt's flawless translation) makes this novel truly all-absorbing and, if you can grimace through those nasty bits, it's utterly compelling.

So what's The Crossroads all about then? Well firstly I'd better tell you that this is third novel published by Niccolo Ammaniti, and it comes on the back of his highly venerated second novel, I'm Not Scared. Although brand-new in its English translation, The Crossroads has been in publication in the vernacular since 2006, and was awarded the prestigious Premio Strega Prize in Italy in 2007. Its plot at a fundamental level is simplistic - it follows the story of a group of friends who are plotting to rob a local bank, but it's not long before the basic plot of The Crossroads branches out and becomes more complex, and in some quite remarkable and unpredictable ways.
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