I'm Not Scared Synopsis
A young adult edition of the internationally bestselling thriller I'm Not Scared, a launch title of the innovative new Walker/Canongate Young Adult list. One relentlessly hot summer, six children explore the scorched wheat-fields that enclose their tiny Italian village. When the gang find a dilapidated farmhouse, nine-year-old Michele makes a discovery so momentous he dare not tell a soul. It is a secret that will force him to question everything and everyone around him. An unputdownable thriller, I'm Not Scared is also a devastatingly authentic portrayal of childhood and the tension that arises when it must join the adult world.
I'm Not Scared Press Reviews
A deft masterpiece with never a false note. * The Guardian * The new Italian word for talent is Ammaniti. * The Times * Ammaniti's prose is faultless... The brevity of his sentences, the clarity and perfection of each image, gives his novel some of the flavour of a child's picture book. * The Independent on Sunday * I'm Not Scared is an exquisite parable. * The Daily Telegraph * Nothing beats a good story and Niccolo Ammaniti is one of the best storytellers around ... This is a breathlessly atmospheric story of a boy's heroism when he discovers that those closest to him are not what they seem. Utterly compulsive. -- Michael Williams * Sleazenation * I'm Not Scared reads like To Kill A Mockingbird, reworked by Miike Audition Takashi.Ammaniti opens Pandora's box on a boy's innocence, whilst delivering all the imaginative delight of childhood between the poison shots. -- Skye Sherwin * Dazed and Confused * I'm Not Scared is an exquisite parable.Ammaniti's short staccato sentences effectively describe the isolation and simplicity of rural subsistence, while long passages of direct dialogue touchingly portray the children's naive perceptions. -- David Issacson * Daily Telegraph * The characters, particularly that of Michele, spring to life and the story builds to a heart-stopping, climax. Readers will find this accomplished work hard to put down and even harder to forge. * Publishers Weekly * Beneath this simplicity, Ammaniti weaves in the fairytale metaphors we know so well, giving the novel a haunting profundity. -- Lesley McDowell * The Sunday Herald * Haunting passages and subtle snippets of Italian life make I'm not Scared a highly effective look at how our ideas and perceptions as children are dictated by the `reality' our parents and other adults shape for us. * Bookpage (US) * The extraordinary strength of this narrative lies in its simplicity.This is a physical and moral world seen through the eyes of a child.... The boy's journey is not towards any realisation of faith, but to the knowledge that there is a not final authority and the only moral values are human ones. * New Humanist * The writing of Niccolo Ammaniti, a much launded Italian author, is several notches above that of Rowling, Tolkein, Pullman et al, and he spares us the elves and the sorcery. -- George Walden * The Sunday Telegraph * Ammaniti's prose is faultless from the first... The brevity of his sentences, the clarity ad perfection of each image, gives his novel some of the flavour of a child's picture book. -- Nicola Smyth * Independent on Sunday * Italian author Niccolo Ammaniti has an incredible talent for conveying the thoughts and fantasies and fears of a nine-year-old boy.... The truth, though, plays on all our childhood fears of abandonment more than Michele's imaginings an even begin to. -- Lorna Russell * Big Issue * This is one of those books where, after a couple of paragraphs you know that you're in safe hands, and after a couple of pages you're lost.Don't start it on the way home from work unless the train terminates at your station.... His account of the squabbles, contests, loyalties, betrayals, fallings-out and makings-up between the children is a deft masterpiece with never a false note. -- Michael Dibden * The Guardian * I'm Not Scared is a simple, enthralling and horribly persuasive story, kept stark and uncluttered.It deftly hints at injustices and divisions, and betrayals of every kind, from the puerile to the world-shattering.Yet nothing labours in its narration... My bet is you'll read this, as I did, in one sitting.Make a pot of coffee, take the phone off the hook, and let I'm not Scared scare the pants off you. You'll be rewarded with the most impeccably judged last two pages of any recent writing. Then raise your cup in thanks for new and promising voices, and higher still for those who bring them to us. -- Chris Dolan * The Herald * There is much to admire.Heat and the oppression of the days are sharply conveyed.The novel is good on the shape of the world of a child: a world defined by climbing, burrowing, hiding and finding hidden things.The dialogues between the pathetically brave kidnapped child and the gently courteous son of his kidnapper are remarkable inventions, poetic in effect. -- Peter Davidson * Scotland on Sunday * Ammaniti's depiction of his adult characters' combination of family loyalty and indifference to those outside the clan recalls Scott's treatment of the Highlanders in Waverly and, especially, Rob Roy.This is how people behave at a certain stage of civilization.The scene in which the conspirators discuss what's to be done with the boy is a s tremendous and horrifying as that in which Rob Roy's wife disposes of the traitor Morris. -- Allan Massie * The Scotsman * The tone is reminiscent of the best literary thriller writers and of one British author in particular.Niccolo Ammaniti: the Italian McEwan. -- Danny Peak * Big Issue in the North * Kidnapping and organised crime are miserable realities in Italy even today and they have been the basis of thousands of thrillers, but Ammaniti's novel is altogether more engrossing and wider in scope.His narrative, a series of short, snappy paragraphs and even briefer, biting sentences, moves with the pace of a crime novel, but the adventure takes place in the mind of a growing boy as well as in the place where he lives. Some of thee set-pieces, especially the climactic search and chase at night over fields inhabited by creatures of real and imagined terror, are a tour de force of adventure writing.Niccolo Ammaniti, who as published novels and short stories in Italy and seen them translated in Spain and France, is a writer of vigorous imagination and moral subtlety, Jonathan Hunt's translation is fluent and forceful. -- Joseph Farrell * Times Literary Supplement * A combination of elegant prose, striking descriptions; and gripping narrative puts this amongst the great modern novel's. -- Ian Maxen * What's on in London * His pacing and story telling are compelling, and you'll struggle to put this short novel down before the end. -- Margaret Chrystall * Highland News * His depiction of a fallen world, in which childhood's golden gates are slammed shut with a terrifying finality, strikes a plangent emotional chord. -- Trevor Lewis * Sunday Times * I'm Not Scared is a beautifully written novel exploring the bittersweet adventures of childhood. -- Saber Kahn * The Resident * The confusing world of adulthood is dazzlingly portrayed in prose so crisp and evocative you can see the heat-haze rising from the arid wheafields. * Good Book Guide * Ammaniti has succeeded where many other writers have failed in capturing a child's voice and viewpoint with absolute precision.Some merit should also go to Jonathan Hunt's flawless translation but it's easy to see why Ammaniti has been hailed as the best novelist of his generation. * Attitude Magazine * Ammaniti's sparse prose creates a truly evil tension, and his caustic intelligence would be impressive in a writer twice his age.I'm Not Scared sucks you in like The Blair Witch Project. -- Ian Thomson * The Observer * A young novelist with extraordinary narrative gifts, writing a pared down, staccato prose that is a million miles from the erudite convolutions of Calvino, Eco or Roberto Cavalli. -- Peter Popham * Independent on Sunday * Ammaniti musters an extremely chilling atmosphere without resorting to cliche, manifesting a palpable unpleasantness from the very credible viewpoint of his nine-year-oldnarrator. -- Chris Power * The Times * Ammaniti secretes the plot of his thriller in dense, atmospheric undergrowth and the result is tense and close, like an Italian version of Ian McEwan's The Cement Garden. -- Toby Clements * The Telegraph * The boy is vividly and affectionately evoked in the child's-eye-view prose, his innocence poignantly eroded as the story hurtles to its tragic climax. * The Observer * Ammaniti engages elements of classical tragedy with eerie grace, the forces of good and evil, darkness and light clashing at every suspenseful turn. -- Nora Mahony * Irish Times * Ammaniti crafts a distinctly adult and a distinctly different kind of coming-of-age drama, which recreates the bafflement and fears of the world outside and childhood fantasies with equal vividness, and gradually sketches in a far more dark, disturbing world of grown-up mistakes. * The Scotsman * The stifling sexual tension and gnawing economic frustration of the grown ups, blistered by heat and orthodoxy, that etches this rites-of-passage thriller on your brain. -- Sarah Adams * Guardian * A disturbing condemnation of the cynicism and moral laziness we gain by growing up. * Literary Review * Ammaniti writes with great precision and economy and, perhaps inescapably, and eye which has been informed by cinema, so that we get all the richness of detail we'd expect from that medium. -- Susie Maguire * The Herald * He secretes the plot of his thriller in dense, atmospheric undergrowth and the result is tense and close, like an Italian version of Ian McEwan's The Cement Garden. * Daily Telegraph * A gripping thriller which is also a profound and atmospheric tale of the loss of innocence and childhood trust. * Sunday Telegraph * Niccolo Ammaniti's writing is exceptional. It is impossible to read this and not see these children running through the sun-cracked land nor avoid experiencing Michele's feelings of excitement and trepidation as he enters the abandoned house. And as far as creepy old houses go, this one is up their with the creepiest exuding menace and darkness...Walker Canongate have re-released this title in an attempt to bring it to the attention of younger readers and it should be a huge success. Reminiscent of early Stephen King, yet with a sensibility all its own I highly recommend this title. Just don't expect to sleep well on its conclusion.... * Mountains of Instead * Distinctive and highly original. * Books For Keeps *