More a travel journal than a novel, the book narrates the twenty-two days crossing from Genoa to Montevideo, capital of Uruguay, achieved by De Amicis in the Spring of 1884. Careful observer of the other eighteen hundred passengers on board of the steamer, the author describes, with profound perception and a large amount of details, the microcosm born by the forced cohabitation; soon faces and stories emerge from the crowd, now described with irony now with sincere emotion. But the real protagonist is the migrant Italy, portrayed in her most vulnerable moment: suspended between the pain of separation and the hope of a new beginning.
A book that could have been pathetic, but that is rather pleasant and flowing, sometimes genuinely funny. Especially a piece of our national history that, today, we should remember more often.
Translation by the author (edited by Sara Di Girolamo)