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Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  950 ratings  ·  170 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 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
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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
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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
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
Banan
دهشةٌ من الطراز الأول .
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.
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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
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!
J M
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
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
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
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
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
Off The Shelf
Etinosa Agbonlahor reviewed Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorrio on OfftheShelf.com.

A Murder Mystery About Much More Than Whodunit by Etinosa Agbonlahor

The first thing I ever read by Amara Lakhous was a novel called Dispute over a Very Italian Piglet. Intrigued by the title (which ought to win an award for utter wit), I borrowed a copy, intending to skim through, but ended up reading the entire thing in one sitting, captivated by Lakhous’ colorful narrators and his abili
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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
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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
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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
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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
Stefano
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
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
Judy
Incoming freshmen at Cornell University were required to read this book and it was offered to alumni as well. The story is about an apartment building with a culturally and economically diverse group of inhabitants. Each has a chapter that tells his/her opinion on who murdered an unpopular tenant nicknamed "
The Gladiator". What becomes evident in each of these accounts is how incredibly racist every single person in the building is; racist here not meaning just color of skin but religion, geogra
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William Clemens
Throughout the first half of this book I hated it, but the second half I somehow warmed to.

A short novel, told in part by each resident of an apartment building in Italy, concerning the death of a man in an elevator in an apartment building. The story is mostly concerned with the residents and their view of immigrants or natives and how they see themselves and are seen.

With a conscious effort I could see and appreciate the humor, but I just didn't feel it inherently and couldn't get totally int
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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
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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
Donna
A lovely little read. Ostensibly a murder mystery, it's a microcosm of modern societal dysfunction and multicultural misunderstandings in a Rome apartment building.

While all the residents of the building where the murder occurs can agree that the chief suspect could not possibly be the murderer, they are all stunningly ignorant about who he really is, or for that matter, who any of their neighbors are. While they're correct about who the murderer isn't, who the murderer actually is is both twist
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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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More about Amara Lakhous...
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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.” 18 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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