Gladiator is a prickly racist who pees in the elevator of his apartment building off Rome’s Piazza San Vittorio. He’s murdered, and the police consider the prime suspect to be Amedeo, a big-hearted neighbor who knows the city’s streets like the back of his hand. As a colorful cast of locals proclaim his innocence, they also debate his elusive origins: Is Amedeo a foreigner? An Italian? A Muslim? This is the launching point of Algeria-born Amara Lakhous’s groundbreaking new novel Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio [Europa Editions, 2008], a satirical, enigmatic take on the racial tensions that afflict present-day Europe. In the excerpt below, a Bangladeshi immigrant weighs in on the crime.
by Hirsh Sawhney
Read an extract from Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio in the Brooklyn Rail