Monday, June 4, 2012

Born Twice by Giuseppe Pontiggia

Born Twice Book Cover
Born Twice is the first novel I've read by Italian author, Giuseppe Pontiggia and hopefully not the last novel I read by this author.

Amazon Editorial Review:
The first major book by one of Italy’s most distinguished novelists to appear in America – an award-winning fictional memoir of a man’s transfiguring experiences raising a son whose disabilities were caused at birth by the carelessness of a single doctor. 
After thirty years of visits to specialists, Professor Frigerio–the articulate, unsentimental, powerfully expressive narrator–remembers what one doctor told him only months after his son Paolo was born: “These children are born twice. Their second birth depends on you, on what you are able to give to them. But in the end you too will be reborn.” And as he recounts this journey–his tone ranging from lyrical to angry, humorous to philosophical–we are witness to the emotional and intellectual vicissitudes he has faced: from his guilt at having had an affair during his wife’s pregnancy to his son’s endless medical struggles to his moments of denial and rage as he navigates a world full of obstacles, cruelty, and indifference. But at the heart of this story is Paolo, an extraordinary child we witness grow up to become a teenager who teaches his parents a thing or two while coping exceptionally well with all the questions, curiosities, and dreams of any young man his age. Here, too, is a finely drawn portrait of Paolo’s mother and brother, and of the life of a family bearing the weight of both great tragedy and great love. 
Born Twice is a remarkable novel–compassionate and rigorous in its exploration of fatherhood, and of the often surprising nature of disability.
I finished reading Born Twice last week. I enjoyed reading this novel immensely, but do I love it? That I'm not sure of at this time. Although Born Twice provides great food for thought and the author writes beautifully, lyrically and philosophically throughout Born Twice... Some passages left me wondering what exactly the author was trying to convey.

What did I enjoy most about 
Born TwiceThe fact that it is a fictional memoir featuring the father's point of view about his disabled son. The story didn't just simply focus solely on his son or the father's feelings about his son's disability, but also on the relationships with family, the medical community, and other people and their views on disability. All of this made for an interesting read.

Born Twice is the winner of the of the 2001 Strega Prize, which is Italy’s most prestigious literary honor.

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