Earlier this year I started playing around on Goodreads. I wrote some comments on a book and then by internet magic moved then over here. And here it sat in draft form for a long, long time. I'm doing some housekeeping so thought I may as well publish it, finally!
Twice Born by Margaret Mazzantini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The story of a marriage, of a war, of love. But not a love story by any conventional definition of the term. Gemma and Diego are a mismatched Italian couple who meet in Sarajevo and are drawn back to that city even as the siege is beginning.
The story moves fluidly through time: the present as Gemma takes her son Pietro to Sarajevo to see the city of his birth, and the past as the full story unfolds.
Most than once I almost gave up on the book, as I sensed events unfolding that I didn't want to read. Have you ever felt that a character you liked was going to disappoint you? I didn't want to experience that, and I felt it was coming. As is my usual practice when I feel like abandoning a book, I read the last few pages to see if I had figured out what was going to happen. I hadn't, and had to go back and finish.
The characters, particularly Diego, are complex. I am still trying to figure out how I feel about him. The scenes of war are heartbreaking. The ending is satisfying but as with most good stories, I want to know more.
There are some other issues that I would love to talk about but would involve spoilers. There is a lot to this book beyond the plot. If you can handle a story with some very dark moments and pictures of humanity, this is a worthwhile book.