Thousands of depressed little towns, villages and hamlets dot the vast plain where Cristiano Zena lives with his hard-drinking father, Rino. Unfocused urban sprawl with no centre to look to and nothing to look forward to.
Rino Zena and his cronies, Danilo and Quattro Formaggi, are planning a ram raid on an ATM, using a converted tractor. The wary, adoring Cristiano sits in on their meetings, watching their half-baked plans unravel, and thinks about the unattainable Fabiana Ponticelli. He has no idea that something very, very bad is about to happen. Or that it will change his life forever....
This is the same book as "As God Commands" (even the same translator: Jonathan Hunt). I assume the publisher thought it might sell better with this title. The original Italian title is "Come Dio comanda."
The book tells the story of a teenager growing up in Italy with his Neo-Nazi/skin head father and a small circle of other colorful and equally disfunctional characters. It is a fascinating story which wrestles with ideas such as fatherhood, loyalty, moral conscience, unconditional love, personal tragedy, and the place of religion in the lives of social outsiders.
The books starts off a little slow but becomes very compelling and interesting in the second half where it becomes very hard to put down. It is well written, insightful, and morally challenging. Niccolò Ammaniti is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.
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