Monday 28 October 2019

Tears of Salt

Finished October 19
Tears of Salt: A Doctor's Story of the Refugee Crisis by Pietro Bartolo and Lidia Tilotta, translated by Chenxin Jiang

This is the memoir of Pietro Bartolo, a man who grew up on the Italian island of Lampedusa, and returned there as a doctor. His career there has been marked by the enormous flood of refugees arriving from Africa, many in dire physical condition.
The story jumps around from his personal life, growing up, going to school on the mainland, working as a doctor, stories of meeting his wife who is also a doctor, dealing with the huge numbers of refugees arriving on the island, struggling for support for the work he does, working in his field of obstetrics as well as whatever is needed by the local people and refugees, acting as a coroner and doing autopsies on the refugees who don't survive their flight to freedom and a better life.
I learned many things about the situation there, adding to the knowledge I had from news stories.
The book does not move in a linear fashion, but moves around in time back and forth. Bartolo is obviously hugely affected by the stories he witnesses, but also aware that he is only there for a brief moment in these people's lives, and he doesn't know much of their stories before or after their passage through his island.

No comments:

Post a Comment