Nobel Prize Laureate: Olga Tokarczuk

 

olga-tokarczuk-WikiWikipedia

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.

Flights

 

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.

For more on Female Nobel Laureates for Literature please visit my series. 

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Jennifer Kelland Perry: Calmer Girls

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!

Jennifer Perry Amazon

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.

 

 

 

 

 

T.W. Allgaier: Peace in the Midst

Peace in the midst

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.

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https://www.amazon.com/T.W.-Allgaier/e/B07KMMFK67?ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

 

 

 

Trastevere

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.

Not by Design

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.

 

Travestere (2)

To visit my author page click here 

 

 

 

Thelma Mariano: Heart of Stone

Book’s Blurb

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?

 

 

Heart of Stone

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!

 

 

Ana Linden: Albatross

albatross

In her collection of stories Ana Linden refuses to have her characters see through rose colored glasses or have happily ever after futures.

Don’t expect extraordinary individuals, always able to make the world a better place, when they can hardly save themselves. This world is not one of untainted, selfless, righteous spiritual leaders either, just as it is not one devoid of violence, crime, pain or punishment.
https://analindenblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/15/albatross-the-big-day/

In Albatross, the opening story, Linden gives us an honest perspective of husband and wife regarding the staleness of their marriage.

Then there is the single woman’s paranoia and fears that accompany what it’s like to live alone after being robbed.

And the story about the affair. “The moment we met, we knew the week spent together would be one of those times so essentially shallow, that it can have nothing less than a profound effect on both of us.”

Ana Linden has the ability to surprise and at times shock. Her characters are often “running away from someone, something or running to catch them, him, whoever.”

Running away from memories and the past, Ana Linden’s stories challenge us to dig deeper where safety lies. Safety and home are recurring themes in these stories. In Freedom her character builds herself a home with an inheritance: It’s so fulfilling to have an endpoint in sight, after all this time.”

A second layer to these stories has to do with self-awareness. Not the fluffy kind but an honest awareness of the fear of losing one’s identity by getting too close. The kind that brings you to the scary heart of emotions and thoughts, of guilt and doubt. The kind that makes you feel uneasy and provides insightful (sometimes horrific) snippets of what goes on behind closed doors and minds.

Ana Linden writes with a certain innocence, breaks the rules and is at times obscure and experimental. Like her nameless characters she is unconventional in her writing. A writers’ writer, one might say.

Click here for an excerpt of Albatross.

 

Anneli Purchase: The Wind Weeps

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.

Annel photo

photo source

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.

 

Anneli

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.

Click here for more details on Anneli Purchase’s books.