Mattanza; Love and Death in the Sea of Sicily
"If you think you do not want to read a book about the death of tuna, think again. In this extraordinary, exquisite book, Theresa Maggio spins a tale that is shimmeringly beautiful, elegiac and, above all, a love story. With a reporter's eye and a poet's grace, Maggio brings the fishermen of Favignana alive... Long after I turned the last page, I could still taste the salt of the brine and tears."
–Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer-prize winning author of March, Year of Wonders, People of the Book, Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence
In a single, bloody spectacle called the mattanza, the men harvest the bluefin, lifting them by hand from a labyrinthine trap. Richly drawn, Mattanza illuminates this rite of spring with prose that is both gritty and lyrical, and in the process reveals a way of life that has since disappeared.
The Christian Science Monitor named Mattanza one of the year's "most notable" nonfiction books, and the Los Angeles Times called it one of "the year's best books."
"There are times when you hate to come to the end of a book - and when you get there, you want to say thanks to its author. Mattanza... is one of those books."
"Funny, compelling, charming and unusual. ...She holds the reader spellbound from the first page."
"A beautifully written memoir about a particular time, place and setting."
–The Chicago Tribune
–The Financial Times
"An intriguing and often lyric view of a very special and rapidly vanishing world -- a world that Theresa Maggio has explored with courage and described with grace."
–Mary Talor Simeti, author of On Persephone's Island and Bitter Almonds
"Based on a decade of observing Sicilian fishermen and their annual trapping of giant bluefin tuna, Maggio's lyrical tale combines the natural history of the fish with an account of a dying tradition."
–Marine biologist Dr. Barbara Block, in Science, 11 August 2000
"Maggio expends enough effort that the reader emerges with a feeling of having spent a weekend in a lost corner of Sicily."
–Business Week, 3 July 2000