Book Review: Three O’Clock in the Morning by Gianrico Carofiglio

Three O'Clock in the Morning: A Novel: Carofiglio, Gianrico: 9780063028449: Books

Title: Three O’Clock in the Morning

Author: Gianrico Carofiglio

Genre: Literary Fiction

Number of Pages: 192

Rating: B-

Recommended? Yes

Antonio is a teenage boy with epilepsy, whose doctor wants him to receive a new treatment and stay awake for a couple of days with the help of stimulants. If Antonio doesn’t have another seizure during this time, he’s in the clear, and he probably won’t have any incident ever again. The book is less about epilepsy and more about Antonio and his dad bonding during the sleepless nights spent wandering the streets of Marseille.

At the beginning he knows his dad simply as his dad but as time passes and they confide in each other more Antonio starts to see his dad as a complex human being and respects him in a way he didn’t before. Three O’Clock in the Morning is a short novel with a lot of atmosphere, as Antonio struggles with sleep deprivation in an unfamiliar city. I also liked the theme of parent and child learning more about each other and developing a lasting friendship.

Antonio also moves past his childish resentment about his parents’ divorce years back and starts to see the light on his own misconceptions. For those reasons, the central relationship was interesting to me. However, I wasn’t crazy about either Antonio or his dad as characters. I didn’t dislike them but there was something about them that left me a little cold. It might have been how privileged and self-important they felt at times.

The female characters were also rather weakly written, and the scene in which Antonio loses his virginity is very abrupt and strange. It was like the woman knew losing his cherry was somewhat important to Antonio’s coming of age but you don’t feel any particular attraction or sense of connection between them. I enjoyed reading this book for the sleepless, exciting feeling the author provoked through the two men’s adventures but I wish I had been able to connect with the characters a little more.

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