Anna by Niccolò Ammaniti
The latest novel by Niccolò Ammaniti takes place in Sicily in 2020. A terrible virus called “la Rossa” (literally, “the red one”) has decimated humanity, sparing only the children. Anna is about twelve years old, her parents are dead and she
The latest novel by Niccolò Ammaniti takes place in Sicily in 2020.
A terrible virus called “la Rossa” (literally, “the red one”) has decimated humanity, sparing only the children. Anna is about twelve years old, her parents are dead and she has to take care of her younger brother. The novel follows them through the devastated territory of Sicily, where they have to find food and survive.
During their vagrancy, Anna and her brother meet other children, but many of them are hostile and they want to steal the food Anna has obtained with many efforts.
Anna is attacked by a big dog, but then the dog becomes her friend, under the name of “Coccolone”.
However, the real enemy of the story is “la Rossa”, the virus infecting every child as soon as he enters puberty. Everyone believes in a different way to cure the disease, and everyone has his own prescription, but none of these remedies work.
Ammaniti brings the reader in a wild and primitive world, where humanity is subjugated by his own superstitions, fighting against forces that it does not understand. Indeed, the key episode of the novel shows hundreds of children burning a big puppet called “Picciredduna” because they believe they will be safe by eating its ashes.
Anna is the only one who possesses the ability to think rationally in all this madness, partly thanks to a diary that her mother left her. In this diary, her mother has written all the indications that Anna needed to survive after her death, and Anna follows her words with great attention.
This novel has all the characteristics of Ammaniti’s works: a realistic language, the use of a grotesque tone and strong characters. Ammaniti refers to the apocalyptic literature, adding his personal style and showing a vivid and incisive image of a derelict Italy. As in the previous novel Me and you, Ammaniti explores the theme of growth, but in a very different way, moving from the intimate and narrow space of a cellar to the wild and limitless spaces of Sicily. Moreover, even though one could argue that Anna does not reach the profundity of the other Ammaniti’s novels, it remains a very well written book.
Writer: Niccolò Ammaniti