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This Magnificent Dappled Sea Reviewed by Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, QC
Friday, November 13, 2020


Author: David Biro

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
ISBN: 978-1542019811

David Biro, author of This Magnificent Dappled Sea sets the introductory episodes of his narrative in 1943 in Nazis occupied northern Italy. It is here where mass massacres of Jews and deportations occurred, primarily directed towards Auschwitz.

As the tale unfolds, we meet Giovanni Taviano, a farmer, who, during a bitter winter day in 1943, runs into a man in a tattered coat coming out of the woods near his fictitious village of Favola.

A newborn baby wrapped in a blanket is thrust into Giovanni's arms together with a folded piece of paper that contains specific instructions. The disheveled man darts back into the forest, and shortly after, Giovanni hears gun shots.

At this juncture, Giovanni does not realize that one day every ounce of hope and delight that would rise from the tiny child he holds in his hands would be shattered. The seeds are now planted on an icy cold night in the forest that will have deep-reaching consequences connected to the child's ancestry.

Giovanni returns to his home and misleads his wife, Letizia telling her that they adopted the baby from the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. He further tells her that all babies there come from good Italian mothers.

The infant named Paolo grows up as a Christian in the Taviano household, ultimately marries and bears a boy, Luca.

Unfortunately, Paolo and his wife are killed in a car collision with a truck.  Their bodies had been so mangled that they were practically unrecognizable. Luca, who was a tiny tot, managed to survive the accident as he was secured in a car seat in the back of the car. His grandparents become his guardians.

Fast forward to the 1990s, where we learn that the nine-year-old Luca is diagnosed with leukemia and requires a bone marrow transplant.

Luca's nurse Nina Vocelli takes a particular liking to Luca. She plays a significant role in Luca's life, including securing, after an exhaustive search, a bone marrow donor.

The suitable donor turns out to be someone living in Brooklyn, New York, Rabbi Joseph Nieman.  However, the rabbi's wife Sarah vehemently opposes her husband donating bone marrow to a non-Jew and Italian. Apparently, Sarah lost members of her family during the Holocaust in Italy. Rabbi Nieman tries to explain to his wife why he needed to donate his bone marrow, especially at this moment in his life where he is feeling down about all of the horrible happenings in the world.

A great deal of ink is devoted to finding out Luca's lineage, which ultimately leads to Nina's discovery that he has an Ashkenazi DNA profile. When Luca's grandmother is told about his heritage, she is in disbelief. Giovanni yells at her to shut up and tells her that he does not want to hear another word from her.   

This is a moving read, and the reader turns pages compulsively. Biro demonstrates a firm grasp of the complexities of human character and interpersonal relationships. This is very essential in crafting a believable novel.                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Quite fascinating is that upon my reading Biro's bio, I was informed that he is a physician. The novel was inspired by a true story. He is the recipient of a successful bone marrow transplant.   

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 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

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