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 was born in Dublin and now lives in Rome with her husband and four children. She trained as an actress but left the stage to concentrate on writing. Her previous novel, Don't Move,won the prestigious Strega Prize, sold over 2 million copies, and became a feature film directed by Sergio Castellitto and starring Penelope Cruz.
‘Narrated in sparse and sensuous prose… important [and] timely’ 9/10
– Press Association
‘Mazzantini’s lyrical novel puts a human face on migration and displacement.’
‘This intense work of fiction focuses on the human spirit in times of ultimate uncertainty while navigating the rough waters of exile, political turmoil and two families who are struggling to find what is “home.” By using the sea as a tool to distance people yet bring them together, Mazzantini reveals how the Italian and Libyan states in chaos influence family life and survival.’
– World Literature Today
'Mazzantini explores displacement and the effect of political chaos on individual lives in this extremely brief but intense story of Libyans seeking refuge in Italy and Italians seeking their lost past in Libya ... A tragedy for our time.’
– Kirkus Reviews
‘Broken destinies, textures, colours and smells – a universe of sensations criss-crossed by powerful, often heart-breaking, images.’
– Le Points
‘One of Mazzantini’s best books. A turning point.’
– Il Messaggero
‘The crystalline beauty of Morning Sea is a peculiar trait of Margaret Mazzantini.’
– Livres Hebdo
‘As always, Mazzantini finds the words to express the pain and suffering of the defeated, those forgotten at the margins of history.
– Le Monde des Livre
'A small book about a great catastrophe, a document of our time.'