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Twice Born: A Novel Hardcover – May 12, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (May 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670022683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670022687
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #821,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Mazzantini's eloquent second novel translated into English (after Don't Move), Italian grad student Gemma travels to Sarajevo when it is still part of Yugoslavia for her doctoral thesis. Gojko, a maniacal Bosnian yo-yo salesman and poet, is her guide, and on the day she is to return to her fiancé in Rome, Gojko introduces her to Diego, an impulsive, young Italian photographer from Genoa with a criminal and heroin-using past, and they spend one impassioned night together. Gemma marries, divorces; she and Diego come together in Italy and marry as the situation in the Balkans begins to deteriorate while the couple suffer their own torment trying to conceive a child. Their efforts to have a child result in convoluted relationships arranged by Gojko in Sarajevo, where they return, years later, as the city is falling apart. Gemma returns alone to Rome with a boy, born in Sarajevo. She names him Pietro and raises him as her son with a new husband, Giuliano, after Diego's death. Twenty-four years after her fateful meeting with Diego, Gemma travels again to Sarajevo and into her past, wanting to show Pietro the country of his birth and where his father died. Mazzantini expertly weaves together her characters' stories, jumping backwards and forwards in time and place, from Italy to Sarajevo as the brutality of the Bosnian war melds with the beauty and complexity of Gemma and Diego's passionate romance. If the loose ends tie up too easily in the final chapters, a captivating secret maintains the story's integrity. Mazzantini's haunting novel, beautifully written and skillfully crafted, proves that despite the hatred exposed by war, love persists, and even flourishes. (May)

Review

"This stunning novel about the nature of grief, love, and motherhood blew me away with the quality and depth of her haunting story." The Bookseller 'Awash with vivid memories and powerful emotion... A stunning book.' -- Irish News 'Epic and captivating... Truly unforgettable.' -- Easy Living --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 19 customer reviews
I think that Mazzantini's design of the drama is purely genius.
Yuri Gorokhovich
I enjoyed the story of the characters and the surprise toward the end of the novel.
Mary T Higdon
Had to keep reading to find out what happened in the beginning and the end!
Delfina Medina-Maloney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mfr on March 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
All of the above, I was totally unaware, who could have imagined what went on in our so called civilised time and was largely ignored. How very sad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kellie on July 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wow.

The main reason I bought the book is because I really didn't understand how/why some of the characters did what they did in the movie. And as the movie doesn't allow you inside their heads, you have to rely on a quite a lot of symbolism in order to figure out what is going on at times. Reading the book actually gave me closure that the movie did not.

That said... what an incredible book! It is a tragedy, but it is also a picture of the strength of the human spirit. Though set in the former Yugoslavia prior to and during the war there, the story isn't about the war or the siege of Sarajevo, but the three people around whom most of the story centers (Gemma, Diego, & Gojko) and their relationships.

The book is slow-moving in parts, but does keep your attention. Although I wouldn't classify this book as a romance by any stretch, it will likely appeal more to women than men.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charmane B on February 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I watched a trailer for the movie this novel was based on staring Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsche last week. Knowing that I wanted to see the movie I decided I should read the book first. I am so happy I did! I have never read such a heart felt story. The author is so talented in describing emotions, I am afraid I may be let down when I watch the movie. She describes a war I knew nothing about, but now I feel knowledgeable and she gives such an accurate description of deep love. I connected with this book. Margaret Mazzantini is an artist. I loved this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shawn on May 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you want a story about Sarajevo and the siege, this is not it. It is a love story, sad, filled with regret and loss. The writing is good but the author seems to have infused her main character with so many disturbing features, the book ends up being all about her.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I loved this book and found it totally engrossing and cried openly at several points in the story. To me, the story of Gemma's quest to have a baby was separate but inevitably linked to the couple's ties to Sarejevo. I found the writing mesmerising and very descriptive (e.g. descriptions of Gemma's mother and father) and I really liked her husband's character. This is a love story but more importantly, it is a description of the war many of us lived through, paying scant attention to it and it's decimation of cities and people because we were ok in the UK. Discovering what really happened towards the end of the book is shocking but entirely plausible. I have no doubt this book represents a reality for many people/women.
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By Delfina Medina-Maloney on January 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought it was a great book, couldn't put it down!
Had to keep reading to find out what happened in the beginning and the end!
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By 695199 on January 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Makes you think. Some difficult topics. But story is good.,has some difficult scenes,to,watch. Penelope cruse does a great job. I would watch it again. I'm reading the book.
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I found this to be a fascinating book. An insight to the war and devistation wrought on the people of that land and insight into their feelings and daily living thru the struggle to survive. Hard for me to imagine going through the devistating times. I enjoyed the story of the characters and the surprise toward the end of the novel. I understand it is being made into a movie, but you never can get the feelings that are described in a book. Excellend read!
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