Long time no see. I’m quite busy with my thesis these days, which actually is a good thing, but it doesn’t leave much energy for blogging. I’m still reading though and I’m feeling very bad about not sharing my thoughts with you.
In Austria, it’s very hot right now and so I thought I might as well publish this review of Debora Levy’sHot Milk* that I’ve written two months ago (oops). It’s the perfect read for a hot day!
Sofia’s mother Rose has trouble walking. The two of them travel to the Spanish coastal town Almería to see the famous Dr Gomez who is supposed to find out what is wrong with her.
During their stay, twenty-five-year-old Sofia has lots of time to reflect on her life. One day, she meets a German woman called Ingrid, who is strong and bold, both qualities that Sofia doesn’t see in herself.
Hot Milk is a novel that feels like the landscape it is set in – quiet and unagitated. Deborah Levy knows how to make her readers burn in the Andalusian sun just like her protagonist Sofia. You can feel her cracked lips, the medusas’ stings and the gnawing despair. This sizzling scene is mainly loosened up by Ingrid and quirky Dr Gomez who in their own ways help Sofia to find out who she is and what she is capable of.
This novel is all about coming to terms with oneself, the past, the present and the future. It depicts one of those moments in our lives when we don’t know what our next step will be, one of those moments when we’re just treading water. Hot Milk is a quiet read that will give you a look deep inside Sofia’s soul, and even months after reading, its strange atmosphere still lingers.
To celebrate World Book Day and our Fourth Blogiversary, I’m giving away a copy of Mohsin Hamid’sExit West that is provided by our friends at Penguin Random House UK. I chose this novel because it is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year and I’d love to share its story with you.
If you’d like to enter the giveaway, all you have to do is answer one quiz question. The giveaway is open to people with an address in the EU, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Norway and you have time to enter from today until April 30, 2017. Good luck!
Synopsis quoted from Hamish Hamilton¹
An extraordinary story of love and hope, traveling from the Middle East to London and beyond, from the bestselling, Man Booker-shortlisted author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Nadia and Saeed are two ordinary young people, attempting to do an extraordinary thing – to fall in love – in a world turned upside down. Theirs will be a love story but also a story about how we live now and how we might live tomorrow, of a world in crisis and two human beings travelling through it.
Civil war has come to the city which Nadia and Saeed call home. Before long they will need to leave their motherland behind – when the streets are no longer useable and the unknown is safer than the known. They will join the great outpouring of people fleeing a collapsing city, hoping against hope, looking for their place in the world . . .
The giveaway is open to people with an address in the EU, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Norway.
You have to be 16 or older to participate.
The giveaway runs from April 23, 2017 until April 30, 2017.
Be fair! One entry per person/immediate family/household.
I am not responsible for lost or damaged items. Neither is Penguin Random House UK.
There will be one winner who will receive one English language copy of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, sponsored by Penguin Random House UK.
You you have to enter through Giveaway Tools.
The winner will be selected at random and notified via e-mail. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, another winner will be drawn.
The personal information you enter will only be used to contact you in case you win. It will be deleted after the giveaway.
I can amend and interpret these official rules at any time, and terminate, suspend or cancel the giveaway at any time for any reason.
A few weeks ago I got to read an ARC of Mohsin Hamid‘s latest novel Exit West.
Nadia and Saeed live in a city at the brink of war. When the militants take over the city it is time for the two of them to leave. They have heard of the black doors leading to places all around the world and so they decide to use one of those doors to make their escape.
With the refugee crisis, Mohsin Hamid chose a current theme for Exit West. We get to experience the crisis from the perspective of those directly affected – the refugees themselves. This way, we can see that the foreigners coming to our countries, looking for safety, are just humans like us, that they often come from a background similar to ours, and that war or displacement can change them for the better or for worse.
The novel also shows what people, what our own neighbors, are capable of if they are scared of the unknown, and what the world could come to if we give in to our fears.
Exit West is a quick and fluid read up until the middle of the book where Nadia and Saeed end up in London. Their stay there drags on quite a bit. What I really enjoyed were those few short glimpses at other people’s lives during the crisis that are interspersed into the main plot.
Mohsin Hamid wrote a short book packed with information and themes. Exit West is a novel that couldn’t be closer to reality and still there is a pinch of magical realism to illustrate that the whole world is on the move. It’s one of those books that should be a compulsory read for those who lack empathy and humanity.