Excerpt from I'm Not Scared by Niccolò Ammaniti, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

I'm Not Scared

by Niccolò Ammaniti

I'm Not Scared by Niccolò Ammaniti X
I'm Not Scared by Niccolò Ammaniti
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2003, 200 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2004, 208 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Two houses on one side, two on the other. And a road, rough and full of holes, in the middle. There was no piazza. There were no lanes. But there were two benches under a pergola of strawberry vines and a drinking fountain which had a tap so that water wouldn't be wasted. All around, the wheatfields.

The only thing of note in that place forgotten by God and man was a nice blue road sign which displayed in capital letters the words ACQUA TRAVERSE.

'Papa's home!' my sister shouted. She threw down her bike and ran up the steps.

Parked in front of our house was his truck, a Fiat Lupetto with a green tarpaulin.

At that time papa was working as a truck driver and would be away for weeks at a time. He collected the goods and carried them to the North.

He had promised he would take me with him to the North one day. I couldn't imagine this North very clearly. I knew the North was rich and the South was poor. And we were poor. Mama said that if papa kept working so hard, soon we wouldn't be poor any longer, we would be well off. So we mustn't complain if papa wasn't there. He was doing it for us.

I went into the house still out of breath.

Papa was sitting at the table in his vest and pants. He had a bottle of red wine in front of him and a cigarette in its holder between his lips and my sister perched on one thigh.

Mama, with her back to us, was cooking. There was a smell of onions and tomato sauce. The television, a big boxlike black-and-white Grundig, which papa had brought home a few months earlier, was on. The ventilator fan was humming.

'Michele, where've you been all day? Your mother was at her wits' end. Haven't you got any consideration for the poor woman? She's always having to wait for her husband, she shouldn't have to wait for you too. And what happened to your sister's glasses?'

He wasn't really angry. When he was really angry his eyes bulged like a toad's. He was happy to be home.

My sister looked at me.

'We built a hut by the stream.' I took the glasses out of my pocket. 'And they got broken.'

He spat out a cloud of smoke. 'Come over here. Let's see.'

Papa was a small man, thin and restless. When he sat in the driving seat of his truck he almost vanished behind the wheel. He had black hair, smoothed down with brilliantine. A rough white beard on his chin. He smelt of Nazionali and eau de cologne.

I gave him the glasses.

'They're a write-off.' He put them on the table and said: 'That's it. No more glasses.'

My sister and I looked at each other.

'What am I going to do?' she asked anxiously.

'Go without. That'll teach you.'

My sister was speechless.

'She can't. She can't see,' I interposed.

'Who cares?'

'But . . .'

'No buts.' And he said to mama: 'Teresa, give me that parcel on the kitchen cabinet.'

Mama brought it over. Papa unwrapped it and took out a hard velvety blue case. 'Here you are.'

Maria opened it and inside was a pair of glasses with brown plastic frames.

'Try them on.'

Maria put them on, but kept stroking the case.

Mama asked her: 'Do you like them?'

'Yes. They're lovely. The box is beautiful.' And she went to look at herself in the mirror.

Papa poured himself another glass of wine.

'If you break these, next time you'll go without, do you understand?' Then he took me by the arm. 'Let me feel that muscle.'

I bent my arm and stiffened it.

He squeezed my biceps. 'I don't think you've improved. Are you doing your press-ups?

'Yes.'

I hated doing press-ups. Papa wanted me to do them because he said I was puny.

Excerpted from I'm Not Scared by Niccolò Ammaniti. Copyright Niccolò Ammaniti 2002 all rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Canongate Publishing. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.

Translated from the Italian by Jonathan Hunt.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Story of Arthur Truluv
    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg
    Elizabeth Berg's heartwarming novel scored an an impressive 4.4 average rating from the 48 members ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Ballad
    The Last Ballad
    by Wiley Cash
    Ella May WigginsA hundred years ago or so, farming land west of Charlotte, North Carolina was given over to giant ...
  • Book Jacket: Future Home of the Living God
    Future Home of the Living God
    by Louise Erdrich
    Louise Erdrich began Future Home of the Living God in 2002, set it aside, and picked it up again in ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg

    An emotionally powerful novel from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E Dog H I D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.