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Articles tagged "Comedy"

Sweating and Swearing in “Clash of Civilizations”

In the opening chapter of Amara Lakhous's gritty mosaic, Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, Parviz Mansoor interrupts his rambling monologue to comment on the way language is used by the nosy doorwoman, Benedetta: Guaglio' is Benedetta's favorite word. As you know, guaglio' means "fuck" in Neapolitan. At least, that's what a lot of Neapolitans I've worked with have told me. Every time she sees me head for the elevator she starts...

An Introduction to Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio

"Doesn't make any difference who we are or what we are," a cholera germ announces in one of Twain's stories, "there's always somebody to look down on!" No recent novel illustrates the truth of this axiom with more precision, intelligence, and humor than Amara Lakhous's Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, which is exactly what the title promises, except better. It's a satirical but not unsympathetic examination of the events leading up to a murder...

Timid as a Mouse

1 There's an expression that describes me: timid as a mouse. That's what my teacher said, back when I was in primary school. It was one autumn, I remember, in Chinese class. Our teacher stood on the rostrum, wearing a dark blue cotton jacket over a clean white shirt. I was sitting in the middle of the front row, looking up at him. He held a textbook in his hand, and his fingers were coated with red, white, and yellow chalk dust. As he read the text aloud, his face and his hands and...

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