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Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhous

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In Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhous, the colourful residents of an apartment building in Rome each tell their own version of events relating to the murder of a neighbour, all the while revealing their own story, tales of immigration, religion, culture and above all, their relationships with each other.


I bought this book from my favourite independent bookshop, Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath. I always look for the unusual when visiting the bookshop, and try to find something I wouldn't find anywhere else, and this was a classic example. I'm not always a fan of multiple narrators, but it's a device used to beautiful effect in this book. Each chapter is the story from one residents point of view, and as it builds, you find out how they all view each other, who is friends with whom, the prejudices, the misconceptions, and the clash of cultures, and the individuality of each person.


Both warmly humorous and satirical, the story is wonderfully developed in this novella (just 140 or so pages), and throws you a few curve balls along the way, before ending with a rather surprising conclusion. A lovely gem of a book.

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