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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 31 December 2010
This author certainly knows how to describe characters and their emotions - a great gift which makes for an fun and interesting read - but despite my initial entusiasm I was utlimately disappointed because the story didn't make it all the way to the end. The story is in essence the tale of the town of Ischiano Scalo a nowhere town somewhere in northern italy sort of close to the sea but not high on the tourist trail and the families that live there. There are the school children the usual mix of intelligence, beauty and troublemakers, the policeman, the schoolteacher aging whilst she looks after her crippled mother and, best of all the first character we meet, a typical seaside romeo Graziano who has many notches on his bedpost but is wondering what its all about - life that is. The characters are well described and the author is particularly good at describing in the first person their emotions and feelings - we can relate to much which is thought by them. The novel is a series of profiles and stories of these town folk and as the book progresses the tales which in the beginning are unrelated intertwine faster and faster until they are fully meshed for our climax. Whilst I really enjoyed around 70% and was excited to have discovered a really interesting author the twists and turns of the tale became darker and less believable. As the twists came I felt the characters were increasingly unrealistic and as they were the real beauty of the book for me it lost its way. So I give 3 stars for the wonderful characters and their basket of emotions but can't put anymore as I skip read the last 50 pages.
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VINE VOICEon 28 May 2007
I was not sure how I was going to get on with this book when I first started it, but actually it really starts to draw you in. It does not deal with the gloss or veneer of life, but with real life with all its hopes and disappointments. It deals with the choices we make and the consequences those choices have on the course of life. It deals with injustice and unfairness and how these things do not always have happy endings like in many books. In other words it deals with real life but in a very colourful way due to the skill of the writing. There are some truly amusing laugh out loud moments, and the author really knows how to look at and write about the little idiosyncrasies of the characters and how to look at their shortcomings and poke fun at them but in such a way that we can identify with them because we are all human and all of us can see little glimpses of ourselves or others that we know amongst the characters. We are all human and we all make mistakes. We are all capable of good and bad and the lines can sometimes be blurred. Fortunately, one must hope not to some of the degrees in this book. It is a sort of tragic comedy written on a very human level.
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on 11 May 2007
Forgive the longwinded title.

I really enjoyed this. I did enjoy I'm not Scared (his first novel) and there is a flavour of that novel that is shared with this, but this book has an altogether broader scope.

If you can picture it, a small town in Italy, too far from the coast, and too near the main road to Rome. Who ends up there? Well exactly! This book plots the lives of a handfull of it's inhabitants, giving just enough history of most of the characters for them to have enough substance and reality, some more than others. Along the way, there is a lot of despair, some hope, and some black humour. It's sharp, smart, and a bit dark, but not without some tenderness and the odd heartfelt moment, and it gathers momentum towards for me, an unexpected climax.

I like it.
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on 17 March 2009
This very funny book is set in Ischiano Scalo, a dusty corner of Tuscany criss-crossed by motorways that serve to remind the villagers that life, really, is elsewhere. Its heroes are a middle-aged Lothario, Graziano Biglia, who, after decades of seduction and alcoholism, decide to retire to married life with a young wannabe actress; and the sensitive and artistic Pietro Moroni, the son of an abusive father and a beaten-down mother, who tends to be the fall-guy for the local bullies in their nefarious schemes. There are other colourful characters, all of whom plot complicated intertwining plans for advancement or profit, with increasingly hilarious ramifications, but at the climax, the laughter ceases and the tragedy of gratuitous murder leads to a disturbing conclusion.
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on 18 March 2009
I totally enjoyed the book which, if you speak Italian, I suggest to read in the original language. It's the amazing story of two children and two adults and how events in their lives are masterfully put together by the author. The language may not be for the faint-hearted (lots of swearring and rude words); it is, however, representative of the language spoken by many teeenagers and adults in today's society.
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on 20 December 2009
I read this book a few years ago and it is one of the best books I have ever read. Aminiti's writing style is gripping, beautiful and haunting. This is an incredible story which leaves one wanting more. Very highly recommended Steal You Away and am looking forward to reading more of his work.
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on 28 June 2007
This has been my favourite book so far this year, I loved it. It's funny, tender, touching. It's a lovely Italian story, an easy read that will stay with me for a long, long time. I'm recommending it to friends and family and will even lend it to anyone who promises to give it back! I love books that make me laugh or cry. It's a marvelous story. Congratulations Niccolo. I'll definitely read it again one day.
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on 22 July 2016
An original but unpretentious style draws you in to the world of small town Italy and the lives of a motley cast of characters. Intensely and casually violent, cruelty filled lives are lived against a backdrop of extreme weather, pain and cycles of exploitation. An excruciating look at how a family's- and a society's- dysfunction impacts on its young and at how the effects of bullying can control a life. Injustice and violence at times make this a bleak place to be but the book is also funny and has the pace of a thriller. I was initially ambivalent because of the unpleasantness of most of the many characters in this book but ultimately was enthralled and will definitely be reading another Ammaniti very soon.
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on 28 August 2016
I came to this after I'm Not Scared, which I enjoyed, but this one disappointed me. It seems that the larger canvas defeated Ammaniti. First I thought the whole story very contrived, in particular Graziano's relationship with the two women. The chapter about the catapult and the donkey is absurd in a realistic novel. The transition from 'Six Months before' to 'Six Months After' is not well managed - in such a place, how could the kid not know Graziano was humping the schoolteacher? But the worst thing in the story was the drugged date rape sequence, which Ammaniti seems to find nothing wrong with. It left a very bad taste in the mouth.
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on 21 November 2015
This is a truly wonderful book. It took me a while to get into it, but one I did I absolutely loved it. My complaint is with the utterly shocking quality of the Kindle edition. The text is riddled with errors and the typesetting is abysmal. When I buy an ebook I expect the same quality of product as I would get with a real book and I feel completely ripped off with this purchase.
I hate giving such a low review for brilliant writing, but Amazon don't allow for the distinction between the two.
Such a shame as the book itself is fantastic.
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