Sunday, November 07, 2010
Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio
Lorenzo Manfredi is found dead in an apartment building and a fellow tenant named Amedeo has suddenly vanished. The Roman police believe Amedeo to be a person of interest and question his true nationality. Yet, his neighbors in Piazza Vittorio proffer evidence, attesting to Amedeo's honest character. Parviz, an Iranian living in exile, is convinced that Amedeo has nothing to do with the crime. Benedetta, an old Italian concierge, considers the accusation groundless, but thinks that one of the immigrants in the community is responsible for the murder. The storekeeper Iqbal Amir Allah believes Amedeo to be "good as mango juice" while Elizabeth Fabian believes Amedeo to be the only tolerant person in the building because he never complained about her dog's barks. Peruvian elder care provider Maria Christina Garcia says that Amedeo generously offered support during her darkest times. And both Antonio (the university professor) and Johan (the young dutch filmmaker) scoff at the idea of Amedeo being a foreigner, pointing to his broad knowledge of Roman history and Italian cinema. Part mystery and social satire, Lakhous's novel is a delightful romp of a read, offering fascinating insights into immigration, culture and identity.