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Oh my, must-read needs to be stamped all over this book as it is 188 pages of simply wonderful storytelling, with each short chapter building to create a cohesive, biting, beautiful whole. Set in Romania in the 1970’s, Alina and her husband find themselves confronted by the secret service when her brother-in-law defects, can the hidden old folk ways be the answer to their problems? While this is a truly stunning read, it isn’t always comfortable or easy, there were occasions when I really flinched, took in a deep breath and closed my eyes, but each time I was drawn back in as I also smirked, laughed, felt wonder and had moments of real discovery. The first chapter sent my thoughts scuttling and seeking answers, did I believe, did I understand? Sophie van Llewyn is an award-winning flash fiction author, each chapter of ‘Bottled Goods’ is short, could almost exist in its own right, yet remove one and the entire story would fracture. The ending is utterly perfect, and had me sitting in contemplative silence. I want to shout about Bottled Goods from the rooftops, I adored this thought-provoking unique novella and have chosen it as one of my picks of the month.
Longlisted for The Women's Prize for Fiction 2019, The Republic of Consciousness Prize 2019 and The People's Book Prize 2018.
When Alina's brother-in-law defects to the West, she and her husband become persons of interest to the secret services, causing both of their careers to come grinding to a halt. As the strain takes its toll on their marriage, Alina turns to her aunt for help - the wife of a communist leader and a secret practitioner of the old folk ways. Set in 1970s communist Romania, this novella-in-flash draws upon magic realism to weave a tale of everyday troubles that can't be put down. 'A story to savour, to smile at, to rage against and to weep over.' - Zoe Gilbert, author of 'Folk'
`An assured debut which is part-absurdist, part-thriller, part-social realism. If you're looking for intrigue, psychological depth and the darkly comic in a book that can be read in one hour, this is for you.' - Republic of Consciousness Prize 2019 judges;
`this stunning historical novella [...] is both tense and atmospheric' - Mslexia;
`The prose is tight, witty, vivid and atmospheric [...] Every word on the page pulls its weight' - Litro;
'Sophie van Llewyn's stunning debut novella shows us there is no dystopian fiction as frightening as that which draws on history.' - Christina Dalcher, author of 'VOX';
'A story to savour, to smile at, to rage against and to weep over.' - Zoe Gilbert, author of 'Folk';
Lucid and powerfully affecting.' - Helen Rye, winner of the Bath Flash Fiction Award;
'A masterful blend of the political and the personal, the magical and the mundane, the historical and the hyperbolic.' - Ingrid Jendrzejewski, editor-in-chief of FlashBack Fiction;
'Sophie van Llewyn has brought light into an era which cast a long shadow.' - Joanna Campbell, author;
'The uncertainties of life and love, and the insatiable quest for freedom - bottled neatly in a set of stories that captivate and enchant.' - Michelle Elvy, coordinator of New Zealand's Flash Fiction Day and Bath Flash Fiction Award judge
Publication date: 11/07/2018
Publisher: Fairlight Books
|Publication date:||11th July 2018|
|Author:||Sophie van Llewyn|
|Genres:||Books of the Month, Family Drama, Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month, Literary Fiction, Relationship Stories, Shorter Reads,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Historical fiction, Short stories,|
Sophie van Llewyn was born in south-eastern Romania. She has published and won awards for her flash fiction and short stories across the UK, Europe and the States. Bottled Goods is Sophie's debut long fiction work.More About Sophie van Llewyn