Book Review – February 2017 – Sallie Eden

The Optician of Lampedusa by Emma Jane Kirby – Published by Allen Lane, 2016

The haunting true story of Carmine Menna, a quiet, honest and hard working optician, who, with his wife and six of their friends, goes on an overnight fishing trip. The next morning they hear what they assume is the screaming of seagulls. Within minutes the truth is revealed. The sound is people in the water. Screaming. Hundreds of them. 

For me, this wasn’t just the story of saving people in search of a safer life, it is also the story of living with the memory of those who couldn’t be saved.*

Shocking, thought provoking and superbly told in a low key style matching the life and personality of the optician himself, it will haunt you for days and, in the case of those involved, for the rest of their lives. 

* a total of 368 people died off Lampedusa on 3 October 2013

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