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Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,132 Ratings  ·  195 Reviews
A compelling mix of social satire and murder mystery.

A small culturally mixed community living in an apartment building in the center of Rome is thrown into disarray when one of the neighbors is murdered. An investigation ensues and as each of the victim's neighbors is questioned, the reader is offered an all-access pass into the most colorful neighborhood in contemporary
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Paperback, 131 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Europa Editions (first published 2006)
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Richard Derus
Sep 12, 2012 Richard Derus rated it really liked it
Rating: 3.75* of five

The Book Description: A compelling mix of social satire and murder mystery.

A small culturally mixed community living in an apartment building in the center of Rome is thrown into disarray when one of the neighbors is murdered. An investigation ensues and as each of the victim's neighbors is questioned, the reader is offered an all-access pass into the most colorful neighborhood in contemporary Rome. Each character takes his or her turn center-stage, giving evidence, recounti
...more
Kelly
Sep 27, 2010 Kelly rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kelly by: Sheer, random luck
The Gladiator has been murdered. (Alas, Russell Crowe haters, not that one) One Lorenzo Manfredini, hated bastard of the apartment building on the Piazza Vittorio. Ten people with connections to the building are interviewed on the murder, mostly on the subject of one person they all have a link to who has disappeared, the man known as Amedeo. These interviews may technically relate to murder, but they mostly have to do with the daily lives and preoccupations of this very diverse collection of pe ...more
Rachida
Jan 07, 2016 Rachida rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
يا الهي ، أكملت هذه الرواية صباحا وكل الأفكار التي صاحبتني خلال قرائتها تبخرت الآن
هذه الرواية التي اشتريتها طمعا في جولة مجانية لربوع ايطاليا ... ما أن تقرأ العنوان
حتى يتبادر لذهنك قصة التوأم الشهيرة ريموس ورميليوس ،
سبق وقرأت للكاتب روايته الأخرى القاهرة الصغيرة والتي تجري أحداثها في روما ،
أظن ما يحدث لأي كاتب أنه يتعلق بثيمة ما ولا تنفك تتكرر في رواياته
ما حصل ل عمارة لخوص الجزائري الذي يعيش في روما أن روايتيه السابق ذكرهما تحملان ثيمة المهاجرين في روما
عمارة كاتب عجيب يكتب بالعربية ويعيد كتابة ا
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Owlseyes
May 05, 2016 Owlseyes marked it as to-read
Shelves: algerian-italian
ON THE QUEST TO WRITE IN A THIRD LANGUAGE
AMARA LAKHOUS DREAMS OF GREEN CHEESE AND BEING REBORN INTO NEW YORK CITY
in: http://lithub.com/on-the-quest-to-wri...
kasia
Nov 26, 2010 kasia rated it it was ok
A really clever idea, and a worthwhile topic, but not particularly well executed. The ideas are good, but the prose is flat and the characters are mostly caricatures. A great pity.

Full Review
Mansoura Ez-Eldin
رواية ممتعة وعميقة في الوقت نفسه، شخصياتها بالغة الحماقة والبراءة، والاستسلام للأحكام النمطية عن الآخر، أي آخر، لكنك لا تملك إلا أن تحب هذه الشخصيات وتتعاطف معها.
عمارة لخوص بارع في مقاربة أعقد القضايا بروح هزلية متهكمة
Danilo De rossi
Nov 29, 2015 Danilo De rossi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Romanzo polifonico, in cui ciascun capitolo è dedicato ad uno dei personaggi che abitano nello stabile di Piazza Vittorio, o che lavorano e gravitano nel quartiere Esquilino. Ciascun capitolo è poi intervallato dagli appunti e dalle riflessioni di Amedeo, che viene così ad essere l'anello di congiunzione di ogni racconto. È un libro estremamente gradevole, scritto con un stile immediato e frizzante che, seppur fortemente stereotipato, affronta temi estremamente attuali, senza tuttavia andare a s ...more
Banan
Jun 01, 2010 Banan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
دهشةٌ من الطراز الأول .
Corinna
Mar 25, 2012 Corinna rated it it was ok
A not particularly well-liked tenant is murdered in the elevator in a building off of Piazza Vittorio and the most well-liked tenant is the prime suspect. The inspector in charge of the investigation takes down the testimony of each of the building's occupants/familiars and I assume reads bits of the accused's journal entries (since they appear after each testimony).

I'm feeling even less charitable than I was last night when I rated this. I'd give it a 1.5 now that I've had time to sleep on it.
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Vivek Tejuja
Feb 28, 2013 Vivek Tejuja rated it it was amazing
It takes so many people to make this world. This thought came to me as I walking home one day from work. I was thinking about my neighbours and how all of us were so different and staying in the same apartment, living lives unknown to each other and the occasional bickering that would take place. It is almost like a universe – an apartment – Georges Perec immortalized this in his famous book: “Life: A User’s Manual” (which according to me everyone must read). From there, I would like to introduc ...more
Grace
Jan 29, 2016 Grace rated it really liked it
Great, lively writing with quirky and realistic characters. I throughly enjoyed this book. Interesting "layout", as each chapter is a different character's point of view as they talk about their relationship with Amedeo, paired with a chapter in the form of Amedeo's personal tape recordings.

The story captures the intensity of intercultural living and issues of racism and stereotyping, particularly in the way these things exist in Italy. In turn it also is a look into different types of immigran
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Trina
Apr 22, 2009 Trina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rome-italy
This is a powerful little book, funny and also revealing. I appreciated it most for a look at the "new Rome" -- but it also reveals that "Italy" is just an idea of a nation in non-Italians' mind -- for Italians, they are Milanese, Roman, Napolitano, Siciliano, etc. first, and Italians a distant second!
J M
Jul 29, 2014 J M rated it liked it
A comic 'giallo' (Italian crime novel) based on the multicultural inhabitants of Roman palazzo who meet periodically in the lift/ elevator (or on the stairs when it breaks down, or in meetings about the lift), this novel has a superficial simplicity which risks stereotyping characters as 'the Neapolitan', 'the northerner', 'the immigrant', etc., yet ends by raising questions about the reader's own assumptions about identities, and the role that names play in creating our own identities as well a ...more
Pascale
Oct 18, 2014 Pascale rated it it was ok
In my view, this novel deserves neither the prestigious literary prize it got in Italy, not the scathing reviews it got on Goodreads. It is based on a rather clever idea, and then, unfortunately, painted by numbers. Altogether, the picture it gives of immigration and immigrants in Rome is rather too pat, By and large, I admire nothing more than writers who can paint a complex picture in very few pages, as I think brevity is a virtue, but in this case, everything remains too sketchy, not because ...more
Nick
Nov 24, 2012 Nick rated it liked it
This novel by Amara Lakhous, an Algerian living in Italy, is only tangentially about an elevator. It is not even really about the murder that provides the light narrative push. Eleven short narrations are each answered by a "wail" from the central character and chief suspect, called Amadeo but, it becomes clear, named differently. Lakhous that cares more about identity and character than the off-hand mystery that is referenced by each narrator. Each of the narrators has a distinct voice, which i ...more
Jim Coughenour
Nov 21, 2008 Jim Coughenour rated it liked it
Shelves: italian_fiction
On the strength of a review by John Powers of NPR, I bought this "Italian crime novel" – so the first point to make about this appealing little book is that is not a crime novel, except in an incidental way. Anyone looking for an entertainment comparable to those offered by Massimo Carlotto or Carlo Lucarelli probably will be disappointed. I was.

On the other hand, this novella by Amara Lakhous is a pleasing read. Its construction is a bit too cute, its multiple voices all sound pretty much alike
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Vinod
Apr 20, 2013 Vinod rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2013
What started off as a delightful collection of characters with their own set of prejudices soon turned into a repetition of one dimensional characters with frivolous problems. Amedeo, the lead character's diary entries are interspersed to give his side of the story and also to peel away the layers of his back story. The entries or wailings as he calls them are quite uninteresting as you get to the 2nd half of the book. There were some interesting characters and clever details in the beginning bu ...more
Kirstie
May 25, 2016 Kirstie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sleuthers
Shelves: mystery-horror
3.5 stars

This was a really amusing book and very tricky as we slowly try and work out who killed Lorenzo. It's cleverly laid out so you never quite know who did it and I thought it was really funny and a bit of an OH SNAP moment when we discover who dunnit at the end. The book is set in the heart of Rome where a man called a The Gladiator is found dead in the elevator of his apartment complex. Each chapter is the story of a different inhabitant of the complex that explains who they are and might
...more
Claudia Cammisecra
Amara Lakhous, scrittore algerino, in scontro di civiltà per un ascensore a Piazza Vittorio, narra, in forma di ricostruzione poliziesca, l’indagine sui diversi inquilini di uno stabile a Piazza Vittorio. Le vicende sono narrate in prima persona dai diversi personaggi del romanzo e le varie voci si alternano per raccontare ciascuna la propria “verità” su Amedeo, misterioso abitante del palazzo, ben voluto da tutti, ma dal passato misterioso e che, a causa dell’improvvisa scomparsa (e solo per qu ...more
Cristina
Un libro costruito per far riflettere, in cui è molto più importante il "contenuto" del racconto che il modo di raccontarlo.

E' indubbiamente un libretto interessante e lo scopo lo ottiene, almeno fino a un certo punto.

Manca tuttavia una vera costruzione dei personaggi, che sono lo stereotipo dello stereotipo delle varie categorie umane di un condominio tipo: la portiera napoletana impicciona, l'immigrato con problemi di comportamento e sociali, il negoziante bengalese, la signora anziana con il
...more
LAPL Reads
Apr 22, 2014 LAPL Reads rated it really liked it
Murder is the obvious problem, but finding out who did it leads to smaller issues with bigger implications--the loves and hates which immigrants from diverse backgrounds have for each other and their adopted city, Rome.

Who killed Lorenzo Manfredini aka the Gladiator? Amedeo aka Ahmed Salmi is the key suspect because he has disappeared, which is what perpetrators always do--run away. Don't they? Not so quick cautions one of the residents who lives in the low-rent apartment building in modern Rom
...more
Corey
Apr 26, 2012 Corey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I read this for Italian Lit and Culture (my last class to get my Italian minor!). It was the best book we had to read all semester. Lakhous wrote with such passion and sadness from Amedeo's POV, and all the other characters made me both laugh and cringe. I think Clash of Civilizations should cause us to think of America as well, because racism isn't limited to Piazza Vittorio in Rome, and sometimes it isn't so cut and dry. I'm very impressed with the depth of this book while told from so many ch ...more
Mahmoud Radi
Sep 16, 2015 Mahmoud Radi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
سمعت عن هذه الرواية للمرة اﻷولى منذ حوالي 4 سنوات حينما قرأت تعليق المفكر الراحل نصر حامد أبو زيد عليها، وهى من المرات القليلة التي اقرأ فيها تعليقًا له على إحدى اﻷعمال اﻷدبية.

قليلون للغاية هم الكتاب القادرين على الجمع في بوتقة واحدة بين القيمة الترفيهية والقيمة الفكرية والقيمة اﻷدبية، والكاتب الجزائري المقيم في إيطاليا عمارة لخوص يفعلها بكل جدارة في (كيف ترضع من الذئبة دون أن تعضك؟)، فهو يختار أن يطرح روايته كلغز بوليسي يقدمه بشكل مراوغ جدًا عبر إحدى عشر حكاية مقدمة بأسلوب السؤال والجواب وتتعان
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Morgan
As a sociological commentary on issues of immigration and multiculturalism in contemporary Italian society, fascinating. As a novel, unfortunately, a flop. I wasn't invested enough in any of the characters to really care that much about what they had to say, or even what the answer to the central mystery would turn out to be. If I'd had to stop reading before I found out, I don't think I would have even bothered Googling it to see what the outcome was.
Dale
Aug 16, 2015 Dale rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A tenant in an apartment building in Piazza Vittorio in Rome is found murdered in the elevator, and one of the tenants, Amedeo, has disappeared the same day. The police naturally suspect Amedeo who, they soon learn, is an immigrant, despite his fluent Italian and deep knowledge of Italian history and of Rome. The book consists of the interviews with the other tenants and acquaintances of Amadeo, interspersed with extracts from his diary.

At one level this book is Rashomon times two: the character
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Erin
Jun 28, 2014 Erin rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014-reads
After failing to find much historical fiction set in Rome that interested me, I picked this contemporary novella that looked interesting. It certainly seemed to evoke a realistic sense of the place (she says, after visiting there for a whole 4 days - but I could absolutely imagine the movie version being filmed in our slightly iffy hotel!)

Unfortunately, it wasn't actually a great read. The snippets from Amedeo didn't do much to advance the Great Mystery Of His Character that was being set up, so
...more
Jennifer
Feb 06, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Technically, it's a mystery set in Rome. Someone is peeing in the apartment building's elevator. A pet dog is missing. A man is murdered. But, it's more like sitting in a restaurant in a foreign country near a table of volitile adults. Fascinating and entertaining to observe, as you thank your lucky stars that you're not related to this lot.
Jessie Weaver
Jun 14, 2014 Jessie Weaver rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
One of my husband’s students read this in English class and gave it to him when he or she was cleaning out their locker. Mr. V read it and then insisted I did, too. It’s a short book, translated from Italian, about an immigrant-full apartment complex in modern-day Rome and a murder that takes place there. Every other chapter is a testimony from one of the residents of the apartment, showing his or her cultural bias and interpretation of the everyday life in the complex. The chapters in-between a ...more
Stefano
Nov 07, 2014 Stefano rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-italiano, kindle
Libricino scorrevole e veloce da leggere (io l'ho finito in un solo giorno, durante il tragitto a/r dall'ufficio) e che, con la scusa di descrivere gli eventi intorno ad un omicidio, fa una fotografia abbastanza accurata e spietata di un certo tipo di Italia e del suo rapporto con gli immigrati. L'Italia dei bulli razzisti, dei tifosi che misurano tutto in base alla squadra che si segue, delle persone che conoscono le verità che gli piace conoscere. Ma anche l'Italia fatta di immigrati che lavor ...more
S
Sep 22, 2015 S rated it really liked it
My cousin who is an avid reader and whose suggestions are always spot on, recommended this to me and as a smart read and one her book club had read and had a great discussion about it.
What an interesting and unique read!

The story centers around the tenants of an apartment building in Piazza Vittorio in Rome where, as in all European cities, a large mix of different cultures and age groups live. Each chapter is narrated by one person and their narration centers around the fact that there has jus
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عمارة لخوص روائي جزائري مقيم في إيطاليا يكتب باللغتين العربية والايطالية. من أعماله «البق والقرصان»، التي ترجمت إلى الايطالية، و»كيف ترضع من الذئبة دون أن تعضك»، التي أعاد كتابتها بالايطالية وحولت إلى فيلم سينمائي. حاز على جائزة فلايانو الأدبية الدولية وجائزة المكتبيين الجزائريين

Other profile: عمارة لخوص

Amara Lakhous was born in Algiers in 1970. He has a degree in philosophy from the University of
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“So many people consider their work a daily punishment. Whereas I love my work as a translator. Translation is a journey over a sea from one shore to the other. Sometimes I think of myself as a smuggler: I cross the frontier of language with my booty of words, ideas, images, and metaphors.” 26 likes
“ثم ما أدراك من هو الايطالي؟ من ولد في ايطاليا، أو من يملك جواز سفر و بطاقة تعريف ايطالية، أو من يتقن اللغة الايطالية، أو من يحمل اسما ايطالي،أو من يسكن في ايطاليا؟ المسألة كما ترون معقدة جدا!” 2 likes
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