Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio
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Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio

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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  659 ratings  ·  131 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 contemporar...more
Paperback, 131 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Europa Editions (first published 2006)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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 4 of 5 stars
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
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...more
kasia
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
Piperitapitta
Piccoli razzismi quotidiani.

(Un commento per due)

Quando ho finito di leggere «Scontro di civiltà per un ascensore a piazza Vittorio» ho iniziato a leggere «Amiche per la pelle» - http://www.anobii.com/books/Amiche_pe... - e devo dire che non è stato un caso.
I punti in comune sono molti, a partire dalla casa editrice.
Entrambi aprono una finestra sul problema dell'immigrazione, entrambi sono scritti in lingua italiana da due autori stranieri - algerino il primo, indiana la seconda - entrambi si sv...more
Trina
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!
Nick
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
Corinna
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....more
Vivek Tejuja
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
Jim Coughenour
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...more
Vinod
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
LAPL Reads
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
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
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.
Erin
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
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
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
Barbara
Le radici del razzismo sono da ricercarsi nell'ignoranza che genera la paura dell'Altro da sè
Questo romanzo lo mostra magistralmente grazie alla sua struttura corale nella quale i protagonisti, quasi tutti immigrati, danno voce ai loro sospetti su ognuno degli altri
MedSaid
طريقة العرض مبتكرة على حد علمي
القصة يتخللها عنصر التشويق و الغموض في بعض الأحيان
الرواية مليئة بالتكرار، إذ كل شخصية تحكي قصتها مع المحقق
ثم تعاد من خلال يوميات بطل القصة، دون أي إضافة أو اختلاف بين النصين
حقيقة أن الفكرة جيدة لكن التكرار قتلها
منصورة الدين
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
Heather
Lorenzo "The Gladiator" Manfredini is dead. He was murdered in the elevator of Piazza Vittorio, the building he lives in. Amedeo is a well liked young man, also a tenant and the main suspect in The Gladiator' s murder. Amedeo is missing and the police believe that his absence confirms his guilt but those that know him can't believe it and recount their interactions with the missing man. That is the premise of this wonderful novel.

I picked this book up at my local library, it is this year's Comm...more
Nick Johnston
I picked this up because it was chosen as Cornell University's "new student read" for summer '14, and I can see why. I didn't think its discussion of racial tensions and the prejudices faced by immigrants were all that profound or enlightening, however -- sad and true, unfortunately, but my understanding of what it's like to be an immigrant in a city like Rome didn't develop much beyond what I already imagined: prejudices and misunderstandings color everything, there's a conflict of identities,...more
Banan
دهشةٌ من الطراز الأول .
Aklrogers Rogers
Interesting writing style and a bit tough to get into, but I really liked wrapping my head around the writing and the characters - of which there are many! This is the reading selection for Cornell University's incoming freshman and certainly chosen for the discussion the book is sure to get going on culture, etc. My mother-in-law told me about this (her book group just finished reading/discussing)- I have encouraged other friends to read and have a group that will be getting together soon to di...more
Hamda
أنتهيت من هذه الرواية قبل دقائق، قبل أن أشرع بتقليب الصفحة الأخيرة، انذهلت لثانية ثم اغلقت الكتاب بشيء من الابتسامة
يجب أن أشير أولاً إن رأيي مجرد رأي قارئ متواضع لا أكثر، فما لم أفهمه من الرواية قد يفهمه غيري، وما لا يعجبني قد يعجب غيري بالتأكيد.

انتقيت هذه الرواية لاسمها الغريب، دون أن تكون لي معرفة سابقة بالكاتب، إذ لم ألتقيه في قراءاتي أبداً
كانت الرواية مركونة في الزوايا المهملة في مكتبتي، حتى فتشت ذات يوم عن كتاب يرضي مزاجي، و كانت الرواية..!
الرواية متخمة بالرموز، للوهلة الأولى تعتقد إنها...more
Appledorf
This wonderful story centers around neighbors in the Piazza Vittorio in Rome in Italy. One of the residents "The Gladiator" is murdered. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different person--a Peruvian maid, an aspiring Dutch film maker, an Iranian chef, an elderly Napolitan concierge, and more--and their reflections on who might be the murderer and arguments over the use of the elevator. Each chapter is followed by a "wail" by Amedo, whom everybody thinks is Italian but is actually...more
M M
A sparkling little book about a murder in a multicultural building in Rome. Lakhous is of Algerian origin but writes in Italian, and this book was quite a success in that sunny country. It comprises interview accounts by the residents of that building on the Piazza Vittorio; each interviewee reveals further information about the motivations and passions of their predecessor. And what a motley bunch of characters! The vicious thug Gladiator is the murder victim, but not before he has terrorised w...more
Danny
A delightful book that displays so much in its very short length about identity, prejudice and misunderstandings in a fascinatingly diverse Rome.

The structure of the book is probably what makes it both unique and appealing. We have eleven different perspectives of life in Piazza Vittorio. They all center around one man, "Amedeo", who is a main suspect of a murder that happened in an elevator in the building they all live in.

Those include the Iranian guy who thinks pizza is the root of all evil...more
charta
Nella piazza che fino a metà del secolo scorso era il centro di una zona bene convivono immigrati di ogni provenienza accanto a rappresentanti di autentica (e un po' becera) romanità.
La storia, un piccolo giallo che ruota attorno alla morte di un personaggio nomato "il gladiatore", è raccontata secondo prospettive individuali.
Il dialogo è scarno supporto al ricordo in prima persona.
Non c'è una verità bensì congerie di punti di fuga.
Insomma possiamo, potremmo, scegliere cosa maggiormente ci aggra...more
Joyce
New Yorker review: A cacophony of voices fills this novel, whose putative plot concerns the murder of a man known as the Gladiator in an apartment building in Rome. One by one, the neighbors offer their querulous, seemingly tangential testimony: an Iranian immigrant explains how he sewed his mouth shut when his petition for refugee status was denied; a lonely Peruvian maid confesses, “The TV is my new family”; a grief-stricken woman accuses Chinese restaurateurs of kidnapping her dog; a Milanese...more
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Amara Lakhous was born in Algiers in 1970. He has a degree in philosophy from the University of Algiers and another in cultural anthropology from the University la Sapienza, Rome. He recently completed a Ph.D. thesis entitled “Living Islam as a Minority.” His first novel, Le cimici e il pirata (Bedbugs and the Pirate), was published in 1999. Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittor...more
More about Amara Lakhous...
Divorce Islamic Style Dispute Over a Very Italian Piglet Un pirata piccolo piccolo

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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.” 12 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!” 3 likes
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