Thursday, 15 October 2015

Port of No Return by Michelle Saftich

This is the moving story of several Italian families from Fiume, a port city in the north east of Italy.  Set during World War Two, one of the fathers, Ettore Saforo, had been forced to work for the occupying Germans, as were many people  at that time.  The city had been bombed numerous times and was devastated, both physically and morally. His family was left homeless while he tried to evade arrest by the invading Yugoslavian army.

This was the plight of hundreds of thousands of families across Europe.  Many had no where to return home to after the fighting ended.  Jobs were few, which meant families couldn't be supported. Author Michelle Saftich explores what these people did have left.  They had family and friends to support each other and to rebuild their sense of community.  From that came hope of what they could accomplish with each other and with physical and mental effort.

The Port of No Return brought another human component to a long ago war.  I'd heard about the blitz of England and the concentration camps, but almost nothing about the other involved countries.  I knew that my grandfather and his regiment had served for some time in Italy.  All he told me about was that as he and his fellow soldiers had walked through the streets, the Italian women would rush out of doors,  were so happy to see them that they offered them whatever fresh fruit they were fortunate enough to have. 

This is also a very timely book.  As I sat wondering about these Italian families and their quest to immigrate to a welcoming country, my thoughts turned to the million plus refugees who are now flooding into Europe.  Where there was despair decades ago, there is now hope and and the prospect of a new and safer future.  Michelle, helped to bring every day Italy and Europe to life for me.  In my mind it had been a tourist destination, not one in which everyday people lived and loved.   Now I can imagine the farmers, the firemen, the students and all those people needed for a community, a country, to thrive.  The fictional characters of this book became real to me and I wept for their loses but also for their strength and perserverance.

 Port of No Return is an excellent debut novel and I am looking forward to future works by Michelle Saftich.

To learn more about Michelle Saftich be sure to visit Italy Book Tours for other stops on this launch tour.

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Thanks to author Michelle Saftich and Italy book Tours for my review copy.

2 comments:

JaneGS said...

I would love to read this book--I am currently reading a lot of books set in Italy, and am also keenly interested in WWI/2. Sounds so interesting and a part of the war story that I really don't know much about.

Michelle Saftich said...

Thank you so much for your beautiful review of my debut novel. It was wonderful to read your appreciation for history and how the same issues and experiences are being repeated today. I can't thank you enough for your kind words. Best wishes always.
Michelle Saftich