By Tina Jordan
Updated September 15, 2006 04:00 AM
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Due to the critical success of Niccoló Ammaniti’s 2001 novel, I’m Not Scared — as well as the film of the same name — Canongate is issuing this 1999 novel, I’ll Steal You Away, a snapshot of small-town Italian life that could be, just as easily, a tale of small-town American life. Twelve-year-old Pietro, a ”born loser…friendless little shrimp,” navigates the cruelties of school. Meanwhile, Graziano Biglia, tired of the boozy Riviera fast life, returns home to his mother’s cooking (he’s particularly fond of her sautéed lamb kidneys) and woos Pietro’s lovely but lonely teacher. Ammaniti weaves almost seamlessly between his characters as they spiral slowly toward their inevitable sad conclusions.