Morning Sea – Margaret Mazzantini

Morning Sea is the second book I read from Margaret Mazzantini after her bestseller Don’t Move. I loved Don’t Move very much and I decided to read Mazzantini more. I’m lucky that my book club has chosen this less well-known short book by the author.


Morning Sea is not an easy book. It is going to upset you a lot because it is digging one of those dirty pages of the past. The book tells the story of the invasion of Libya by Italy and the sorrowful events that follow. There are different stories from both sides of the Mediterranean; both are hard to hear. In addition to war, destroying everything on its way, it also tells the desperation of men against nature. And mothers as well as the longing for a piece of land.

Morning Sea - Margaret Mazzantini

Morning Sea and the desperation

The desperation on the pages hurt me so much that I’m ashamed of my humanity a thousand times. Interestingly, no matter how much we know about our history and what is good and what is bad nothing changes. When we read about the events in different geographies from novels rather than history books, we see that we are all the same and we are all desperate agaisnt a war. At least this book made me admire this unifying power of literature.

The story, unfortunately, does not flow in every episode. Because of the author’s style, it is a little disconnected, scattered, and hence it takes away the pleasure. However, it manages to leave you with pain and understanding.

Morning Sea - Margaret Mazzantini

Morning Sea

As Gaddafi clings to power in Libya, Farid and his mother Jamila chance their luck on the hazardous crossing to Sicily. But as they hunker down in a trafficker’s battered old boat, the vastness of the Mediterranean begins to dawn. Meanwhile, in Sicily, Vito wanders the desolate beaches recalling his mother’s stories of her idyllic childhood in Libya. She has never forgotten – nor forgiven – the forces that tore her from her childhood love, a young Arab boy whose fate was very different from her own.
Moving back and forth between the continents, this deeply moving portrait focuses on two families and one stretch of water, and in terse, lyrical language captures perfectly the dark, uncertain quality of our times.

Margaret Mazzantini

Margaret Mazzantini (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmarɡaret mattsanˈtiːni]; born 27 October 1961) is an Italian-Irish writer and actress. She became a film, television and stage actor, but is best known as a writer. Mazzantini began her acting career in 1980 starring in the cult horror classic Antropophagus, she has also appeared in television and theatre. As a successful writer, her novels include Non ti muovere (Don’t Move) which was adapted into a film of the same name and is directed by her husband Sergio Castellitto and stars Penélope Cruz. Her career as a writer and actress has earned her several awards and nominations including Campiello Awards, a Golden Ticket Award, and a Goya Award.

Mazzantini was born in Dublin, Ireland to Carlo Mazzantini, an Italian writer and artist, and Anne Donnelly, an Irish artist. She has three sisters (one of whom is Giselda Volodi). She spent her childhood around Europe, Spain, and Tangier, until the family settled in Tivoli. In 1982 she graduated from the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Rome.

She married Sergio Castellitto in 1987. They have four children, Pietro (b. 1992), Maria (b. 1997), Anna (b. 2001) and Cesare (b. 2006). She lives in Rome. In 2003, she was awarded the title of Knight Order of Merit of the Italian Republic on the initiative of the President of the Republic.

Morning Sea - Margaret Mazzantini

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Read Around the World, A Great Journey

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