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Customer Review

on 21 October 2012
The me and you of the title are Lorenzo, 14 and his half-sister Olivia, 23. This stunning novella is situated in Rome in 2000. Its introduction and conclusion were written ten years later by an older and wiser Lorenzo. The 2000 story unfolds during a 5- or 6-day period and deals mostly with Lorenzo. Who prefers to be alone and reacts with varying degrees of hostility to other people. Only his beloved mother is fully exempt from his deep desire for solitude. As an intelligent child he recognized his defect and developed methods to control his tantrums following invasions of his private sphere. And he adapted techniques certain flies developed in their evolution to look and behave like their worst enemies. He uses mimicry and camouflage to pass as one of the herd of schoolmates to be considered normal. And lies a lot to reassure his parents (his mother!) that he is doing alright.

Until he becomes entangled in his latest lie, for which he plans a bizarre solution and a longed for state of mind: total solitude, finally alone all by himself (he is jealous of lonesome seabirds and prisoners serving solitary confinement). But then, as if exploding, blazing out of one of his computer games, a real-life monster emerges who can spoil everything for him. This time, he cannot lie his way out, he has to learn to negotiate, and quickly too...

Earlier, Niccolo Ammaniti wrote "I'm not Afraid", a brilliant story from the point of view of a 9-year old boy in a scary, poor and confused setting in rural Italy. In this novella, he confirms his talent of writing marvellous books from unexpected perspectives. More of his novels should be translated into English. And this is a magical tale!
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