Saturday, December 31, 2011

Twice Born by Margaret Mazzantini

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 BornTwice 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.

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