Let the games begin by Niccolò Ammaniti

let the games begin

Let the games begin by Niccolò Ammaniti

Italian Fiction

Translator Kylee Doust

Source – review copy

Now I must admit this is my first novel by the italian writer Niccolò Ammaniti ,I have had I’m not scared sat on my shelves for a couple of years .But when I was offered the chance to review this book I jumped at the chance the mention of satanic cults ,intoxicated supermodels ,olympic athletes and man eating Hippos how could I say no at time I not the wasn’t enough hippos in fiction but strange enough two books in the last twelve months have had hippos in down the rabbit hole and the sound of things falling both had hippos in ! maybe we are on the brink of Hippo fiction .Anyway back to Niccolò Ammantiti and Let the games begin .Niccolò Ammaniti studied biology but didn’t finish his degree ,he moved onto writing he published his first novel in 1994 and has since written six novels had his books made into a film .He won the prestigious Strega prize in 2007 .Let the games begin is his fifth novel .

Fabrizio Ciba was forty-one years old ,but everyone thought of him as a young writer .That adjective , frequently repeated by newspapers and other media had a psychosomatic effect on his body .Fabrizio didn’t look older than thirty-five .he was slim and toned without going to the gym .He got drunk every evening but his stomach remained as flat as a table .

MMM is this the young-looking Niccolò  making a point about people calling him young a lot ?

Let the games begin follows a number of different characters Fabrizo Chiba a Novelist ( to me he was  a writer trying  to live down a huge novel when young  ala Salinger but italian he is well-known for one book more than his others ) ,he is also a little up himself .Then there is Sasa Chiatti a multi millionaire property guy that has a mansion Villa Ada where a lot of the book is set and has invite a group people including Fabrizo ,A satanic cult leader called Mantos  leader of the wild beasts of Abaddon and a model that was a Satanist that has since convert to the Catholic church ,add in a collection of wild animals and you have a recipe for some real moments of madness and dark with .What happens when a writer and a cult leader meet ? All meeting at the Villa Ada .

Sasa Chiatti had built marshland , river and quicksand and committed himself to repopulation the park .He had brought from neglected zoos and abandoned circuses of the eastern european countries bears , seals , tigers , lions giraffes , foxes ,parrots cranes ,storks macaques , Barbary macaques ,hippopotamus and piranhas , and he had scattered them throughout the one hundred and seventy hectares of Villa Ada .

He want it to be like when he was a boy and came with his mum to go round Vila Ada .

I loved this book it may all sound outlandish a sot of modern take on the exterminating angel a look at what may be considered the modern elite where it isn’t class that gets you place it is celebrities .Maybe it is ,I felt it capture the madness and bizarreness money and power can bring to people the thing is Vila Ada Chiatti world isn’t far removed from the world Michael Jackson and others have built round them selves .I can also see Chiatti as maybe the embodiment of all that Silvio Berlusconi politics and personnel life style stands for there is a message against excess her and wonderful with behind the message .One for anyone that likes a little madness in the fiction .

September 2013


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