Translated from Italian this is a brilliantly written and extremely gripping story about a young Italian boy Cristiano and his racist and crazy father Rino, who live in the not so glamorous part of Italy. The two live in squalor and while Rino drinks himself stupid Cristiano tries as much as much as possible to live a semi normal adolescent life. The only time Rino makes any attempt to clean up his act is when his social worker visits to check up on him. Because although Rino may not seem like the most conventional of fathers, his love for his son runs deep and he is determined to keep the pair together. Unfortunately circumstances intervene and after one fateful night it would seem that separation is inevitable. Although dark and disturbing at times this novel is a classic and so far the best I have read this year.

 

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On your recommendation I got this book out. Then couldn't put it down. Intense. And as it references Robert de Niro in Taxi Driver and the heist film Dog Day Afternoon, seems appropriate that there's also a film of the book (Italian, with subtitles). Thanks for the suggestion.
I too found this book a gripping and compelling read. Bleak and tragic, it is also at times hysterically funny. As God Commands is character driven crime story and also a social commentary on the hopelessness of the life of unemployed non skilled Italian workers living a hand to mouth existence in a modern Italy that is a far cry from the Italy depicted in the many books on Tuscany. It moves fast and as I was reading it thought it would make a great movie...and now from Bernard's commment...I find that it has! A fantastic writer!

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