From an award-winning BBC journalist, this moving book turns the testimony of an accidental hero into a timeless story about the awakening of human courage and conscience.
'I can hardly begin to describe to you what I saw as our boat approached the source of that terrible noise. I hardly want to. You won't understand because you weren't there. You can't understand. You see, I thought I'd heard seagulls screeching. Seagulls fighting over a lucky catch. Birds. Just birds.'
Emma-Jane Kirby has reported extensively on the reality of mass migration today. In The Optician of Lampedusa she brings to life the moving testimony of an ordinary man whose late summer boat trip off a Sicilian island unexpectedly turns into a tragic rescue mission.
Poetically written, absorbing, harrowing . . . a moving and unusual achievement
An ambitious and important book that goes far beyond the voyeurism of 24-hour news to identify something timeless and troubling... a moral tale, following events through the eyes of the fastidiously ordinary optician never named in the text and thereby transformed into an everyman . . . Emma Jane Kirby challenges us to do more than cry.
A novelistic retelling of a man's tragic encounter with the European migrant crisis - a true story that brings a fresh perspective to events that are often hard to visualise.
A shock to the system, it forces us to think. . . the optician is an ordinary man, no better no worse than us.