Almost a first for me - a book in translation that I couldn't put down. Niccolo Ammaniti's I'm Not Scared has been so masterfully translated from the Italian by Jonathan Hunt that there was never one instant when I felt I wasn't in touch with the original - and yet at no time felt any lack of magic in the language I was reading.
Told by nine-year-old Michele, the story of a baking Italian summer gathers in intensity and bewilderment as his secret discovery threatens his entire way of life. In the same way as "To Kill a Mockingbird" puts life into perspective, "I'm Not Scared" shows us what a child sees and tells us with the honesty of childhood what he feels. Horror and beauty are juxtaposed in such a way that I was almost scared to turn the page, and by the end of the book I felt that anything was possible.
It made me late for Synod. Try reading it on a hot day, with the sweat trickling down your back. Really.