A clever, playfully uncanny debut collection that has left me looking forward to more of Guy Ware’s writing’ – You Have 24 Hours To Love Us by Guy Ware

Guy Ware’s debut short story collection is called You Have 24 Hours To Love Us. It took me roughly that amount of time to read through it for the first time and immediately fall in love with the author’s style. Ware’s take on life is original and thought-provoking but not without a hint of humour. In ‘In Plain Sight’, a chicken farmer Stan in a far away country is suddenly put under blockade by a government led by a President and a General Weedon from the other side of the world. ‘You have twenty-four hours to love us,’ they tell him. Read on

‘I struggle to see why this book became a bestseller in France and Spain’ – The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katherina Hagena

When Katharina Hagena’s latest novel The Taste of Apple Seeds (translated from German by Jamie Bulloch) landed in my lap, I was hoping for a similar exquisite pleasure as I experienced when I read Jenny Erpenbeck’s Visitation. There is a house here too, also in Germany. There are several generations, their stories tangled up around a family secret. There is even a lake. But here the similarities end.   Read on

The indecisive donkey

I have been trying to write simultaneously in Russian and in English. Not at the same time, a pen in each hand, of course! But two novels – or whatever they will become – at once. The reason for such foolish behaviour is that I just cannot choose which one to write first. I am like that donkey that starved itself because it couldn’t choose which pile of hay to eat.

The thing is, Russian is not just my native language, the language I feel most comfortable in, but it also corresponds to a very different side of my personality. Even the tonality of my voice changes when I speak Russian. And since it has been a while since I properly used it, played with it, I feel so drawn to it at the moment that I just cannot resist.

The characters of my two literary lives correspond to the language I am writing in too, which shoudn’t really surprise me but it still does. I am completely in love with my English character George and I just cannot bear to leave him for too long. Besides, he’s old and I’m a bit worried about him while I’m gallivanting with my younger Russian protagonist! And so here I am – a day of writing wasted because I couldn’t choose who and in which language to spend it with.

I might try to wear, eat or listen to something that reminds me of Russia on my Russian writing days, and do the same for the English ones. Let’s see if that works – wish me luck!

PS. I have finished All The Beggars Riding by Lucy Caldwell and it’s brilliant – read full review here in a couple of weeks.

PPS. I haven’t submitted anything this month yet, and the time is ticking…Better hurry up. For now I’m consoling myself with the fact that school doesn’t start until tomorrow and my son has been very audibly getting bored without me while I have been trying to write. His favourite ‘Mummy pay me attention’ thing at the moment is to play the same thing on the piano over and over again.