Twice born, Margaret Mazzantini

Two people meet in Sarajevo in the nineteen eighties. Gemma is a student from Rome, Diego a photographer from Genoa. They fall in love and after a few hurdles they can finally be together in Rome. They enjoy life and each other. Or so you would think. Unfortunately there is something clouding their happiness, they cannot have children together. Despite going to clinics and undergoing all kinds of tests and procedures, Gemma does not get pregnant. And they drift apart because of this, even though they love each other so very much.

Sixteen years later Gemma returns to Sarajevo with Pietro, her and Diego’s son. In Sarajevo there is an exhibition with photographs from the war, and Diego’s photo’s are also exhibited.
Together with Pietro Gemma visits places she remembers and meets old friends. And she is looking for answers about the past. Why didn’t want Diego leave the city, even when he had the chance? Why did he let Gemma and a new born baby travel back to Italy alone?

It is difficult to say more about the story, without giving the plot away. Twice born is a beautiful story. It is not just a love story, or the story of two people desperately wanting a child or a story of a city during a war. It is an amazing mixture of all these three things. Twice born is a story about love and friendship, about sacrifice, courage and forgiveness. It is a story of losing and finding each other, about the past and the influence it has on the future.

The story sucks you in very quickly. I cried during some parts, it is so overwhelming and often also very recognizable.
Margaret Mazzantini writes in a very poetic and beautiful style, it took me away and left me breathless.

I read this book for my bookclub and it exceededs all my expectations. I think this book will end up in my personal top-3 of 2014.

Original title : Venuto al mondo (Italian)
Published in 2008
506 pages


  1. Beautiful writing and a beautiful story...can't get better than that. I'm going to have to look for this one. (Fingers crossed I can find it here.)

    1. It is truely a beautiful book. I hope you can find it!

      Kind regards, Bettina


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