Olga Tokarczuk is the recipient of the 2018-2019 Nobel Prize for Literature. Although this prize is awarded to Olga Tokarczuk in 2019, she is actually the 2018 nomination. The prize was held over because of sexual abuse and financial scandals which led to a series of resignations in the Swedish Academy. She is the fifteenth and second Polish writer to win this prestigious prize.
Ms. Tokarczuk is no stranger to receiving prizes for her literary works. In 2008 her novel Flights won the Nike award, Poland’s top literary award. In 2018 Flights took the Man Booker Prize for its translation into English by Jennifer Croft.
Tokarczuk’s work focuses on peace, democracy and activism. In an interview with Claire Armitstead in The Guardian, Tokarczuk had this to say about a two-year book deal on detective stories:
But just writing a book to know who is the killer is wasting paper and time, so I decided to put into it animal rights and a story of dissenting citizens who realise that the law is immoral and see how far can they can go with saying no to it.”
In a fascinating interview with Adam Smith – Chief Scientific Officer of Nobel Media – Olga Tokarczuk speaks of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature as a symbol of hope for those worried about the ‘Crisis in democracy’ she sees facing central Europe.
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In well crafted sentences Jennifer Kelland Perry traces the journey of sixteen year old Samantha Cross and her family through their different struggles: sister rivalry, parents’ divorce, moving to a new place, teen pregnancy, mother’s drinking, money worries, Alzheimer’s and death. Whew!
Although the plot of Calmer Girls is far more dramatic than my adolescence ever was, I was filled with nostalgic moments as I found myself reminiscing about my own adolescence with its taste of first love and the confusion of young adult friendships.
The Coming-of-Age story takes place in St John’s, Newfoundland, a city and province I have always wanted to visit and, thus, appreciated the author’s descriptions of St John’s and what it was like growing up there in the 90’s.
II found the characters interesting and the author did a good job of portraying their faults along with the family’s dynamics. Although it is categorized as a YA novel, I thought the mother in the story added a domestic reality as she coped with being a mother to two teenage girls while in the midst of a separation and having to relocate to a new city. My interest was sustained until the end. Jennifer Perry makes us care about these broken characters.
An envelope lies unopened in her office. Bakery owner and mom, Mattie, is recently divorced. Her three kids don’t understand why. Running her life in the 1980’s has proven more difficult than she imagined and was about to get more complicated.
Esther, a young widow, is trying to run a farm and raise her three children alone in the early 1940’s. How could her circumstances get any worse?
Thomas, the new county sheriff, is trying to make sense of his life. How did his life turn upside down when he was trying to do the right thing?
What I liked about this book, besides its interesting plot, is the goodness of the characters throughout. Sure, there are a few (very few) dubious, selfish characters, but for the most part the author writes about the caring and kindness of mankind. It is heartwarming and made me feel good reading it as it gave me hope in humanity. Of particular interest, was the emphasis placed on a man as hero.
Although the author’s own moral values are supported by Biblical passages the truths, honor and charity of human nature at its best are universal.
This is a good pick me up book in keeping with the nature of the author’s blog where she offers words of encouragement.
I recently returned from a trip to Italy where I spent time in Rome. One of the areas I visited while there was Trastevere where part of my novel, Not By Design, was set.
We cross the River Tiber and approach the archeological remains of rooms that were once baths made of black and white mosaics. My guidebook tells me that these were made in the first century AD. It’s hard for me to grasp that over two thousand years ago there was an entire civilization living on the ground I am standing on.
We are walking along the delightful district of Trastevere. In Trastevere one will get glimpses of the “real” Rome. Marco and I have been here many times. To eat in their famous restaurant area, go to the theatre, the cinema or just mingle with the Romans in clubs and bars. Today our mission is different. We are visiting the church Bridget reserved for our wedding.
Marco and I are holding hands as we pass by boutiques offering handcrafted wares and clothing stores with magnificent styles.
As we approach Piazza Santa Maria with its spectacular fountain I stop to take in the church in front of us. It is a stunning Medieval church. Its façade glows with its series of faded mosaics honoring the Virgin Mary. I can’t think of a more romantic setting for our wedding. Even before entering the church I know that it is perfect. Except for one thing. “I can’t believe that my father won’t be here to walk me down the aisle,” I say.
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Following a wager of the gods, a statue of Aphrodite springs to life. She has thirty days to find true love or return to stone.
After two hundred years trapped in granite, Daphne will do anything to stay alive. However, she’s past her prime as a woman and her face is pockmarked after prolonged exposure to acid rain and pollution. Without the advantages of youth or obvious beauty, how can she attract a suitable partner in so little time?
In a world of instant gratification and hookups, is it even possible to find anything real? And do so before the month runs out?
Desperate for answers, she turns to others for advice and looks for love in all the wrong places. With days, then minutes remaining to her, she must listen to the wisdom of her now-fragmented heart.
…the story symbolizes the dilemma faced by many women – to open our hearts to love and risk vulnerability (in Daphne’s case, death) or to resist and turn to stone.
Heart of Stone is a romantic fantasy. Thelma Mariano began writing fiction in the confessions field, where she sold over 40 stories to women’s magazines (such as True Story, True Confessions and True Experience) put out by NYC publishers in the days of mass readership. She is also the author of three published novels: Night Cries (women’s fiction), ConneXions (psychological suspense) and SeaStruck (a paranormal romance).
Heart of Stone is a short and easy read. It ponders the notion of true love and the pain of a broken heart. The novel is set in some of Montreal’s landmarks: Old Montreal, Le Plateau and St. Denis Street. But the most remarkable one for me is of the chapel in the Old Port where the statue of Our Lady of the Harbor is immortalized in Leonard Cohen’s haunting song Suzanne.
The book is offered for free right now on Smashwords and Amazon. I had difficulty downloading it on my Kindle through Amazon but had no problems sending it to my iPad. Go figure!
The Wind Weeps
A romantic fishing tale
Although knowing practically nothing about fishing, Andrea accidently finds herself in the hard-working sub-culture of commercial fishing. She painfully learns the ins and outs of fishing from preparing the boat for the season to the camaraderie within the fishing community and its inevitable human tensions.
The setting is exquisite, wild and beautiful and the author has the talent to create vivid, emotionally packed images.
In her attempts to redefine a life for herself Andrea is forced to face the complexities of her abuse and their devastating effects on her romantic relationships.
This is a story about survival: physical survival, moral survival and survival of the soul.
The Wind Weeps, is a must-read for any woman who has been or is trying to get out of an abusive relationship. But it is also a man’s story as it involves the rugged world of commercial fishing on the gorgeous coast of British Columbia.
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