Mattanza by Theresa Maggio
Love and Death in the Sea of Sicily

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Synopsis

A magnificent journey inside the world of a Sicilian fishing community and its thousand-year-old rituals. . Every spring for untold centuries, great schools of giant bluefin tuna have swum through the Strait of Gibraltar to spawn in the Mediterranean Sea. And there, for untold centuries, men have been waiting for them. In this stunning debut, Theresa Maggio brings us inside the insular world of the tonnara-the ritual trapping and killing of bluefin enacted by fishermen since the Stone Age. In a single, bloody spectacle-called the mattanza-the fishermen harvest the bluefin, lifting them by hand from the Chamber of Death, the last room in an elaborate trap. Theresa Maggio witnessed her first mattanza on Favignana, a butterfly-shaped island off the coast of Sicily. Brought to the island by a fisherman who was in love with her, Maggio in turn fell in love with Favignana, with its white magic and stonework, its anchors and nets. Penetrating this exotic, all-male world as no woman has before her, Maggio documents a dark and beautiful ritual that might soon disappear-a casualty of the modern fishing industry. Part memoir, part natural history, part travelogue, Mattanza is a riveting narrative of one woman's journey into another world, a world where moon lemons grow wild, and where the sea holds the promise of renewal.
 

About Theresa Maggio

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TERI MAGGIO is Deputy Directory of Technical Services and Outreach Coordinator for the Southwest Georgia Regional Library in Bainbridge, Georgia.
 
Published January 1, 2000 by PERSEUS BOOKS-2000. 263 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Sports & Outdoors, Travel, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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More easily captured, and done so with Maggio's flair for description, are the physical aspects of he hunt—the setting and pulling of the nets and the architecture of the fish traps, the way to gaff a half-ton eight-foot bluefin and the way not to—the role of the fleet master, the biology of the ...

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Publishers Weekly

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It is important to remember this slim book's subtitle. Its subject is in fact la mattanza (literally, the slaughter), the ancient and ritualistic blue-fin tuna catch that preoccupies fishing societies

Feb 28 2000 | Read Full Review of Mattanza: Love and Death in t...

Publishers Weekly

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Maggio is a travel writer who has spent the last 15 years visiting the Sicilian island of Favignana, where the men who work the giant tuna traps have slowly accepted her as a part of their decidedly masculine circle.

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