A fun and farcical novel, this new “whodunit” about life in multicultural Italy is a Pirandellian exploration of identity in today’s changing, polyglot societies.
Once again, the protagonist of this new novel is the crime beat journalist, Enzo Laganà. He and his Finnish fiancée, Tania, are about to leave on holidays when Enzo receives news of an emergency: a fifteen-year-old girl has accused two Rom men of having raped her. Revenge is swift: a Rom camp near the Valentino Park is burned to the ground; a child and a woman are injured. It’s up to Enzo to clarify matters. Precisely who is seeking revenge, and for what? Was the girl really raped by two men or is the whole story a prank? And who is the mysterious woman injured in the flames?
Bittersweet, like any self-respecting Italian comedy, The Prank draws inspiration from everyday reality. Lakhous describes his approach to writing as “total literature,” a term he has adapted from soccer’s “total football.” He plays in attack, describing in this work the realities of an Italy of the future with colorful characters portrayed in limpid but lively prose.
Amara Lakhous was born in Algiers in 1970. He has a degree in philosophy from the University of Algiers and another in cultural anthropology from the University la Sapienza, Rome. He recently completed a Ph.D. thesis entitled “Living Islam as a Minority.” His first novel, Le cimici e il pirata (Bedbugs and the Pirate), was published in 1999. Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, winner of Italy’s prestigious Flaiano prize, is his second novel. He currently resides in New York.