Monday, 21 April 2008

A Little Bragging, if You Don't Mind Too Much...

This weekend the first of the reviews for The Violets of Usambara arrived. When you write a book you always await them with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. In fact I find that usually I have to take a deep breath before I start to read because I'm never sure what I'm going to find.

But this time the news is pretty good. The two reviews are from the Montreal Review of Books, a quarterly publication devoted to books by English-language Quebec writers and books published by English language publishers here, and the Sun Times in Ontario.

Danielle LaFrance wrote the MRB review. saying “Soderstrom’s writing is tense and subtle, often using repetitive wordplay and seamless flashbacks to navigate through time and place” with a tone that “is a steady inhalation until it reaches an unbearable breathlessness.” (MRB articles are archived on-line, but this one appears not to have been put up yet. I’ll add the link when it is.)

Andrew Armitage likes the book even more, it seems. He writes: “Her new novel … is a beautifully written, moving piece of literature that has risen to the top of my best picks for '08.” He adds: “The Violets of Usambara juxtaposes the world of Quebec politics with the breakdown of an African nation, caught up in the horrors of genocide and tribal warfare. Anchored by a tensely constructed plot, it is both a richly rewarding read and a novel that should be sought out by lovers of well-crafted fiction.”

All of that makes me feel pretty good. Now to wait for reviews in the bigger papers….

BTW I revamped my website which had become very hard to change since the system I was using couldn’t support French accents and required ASCII characters—a real drag. Check it out.


Martin Langeland said...

For both reviews and web page.
I particularly empathized with that dilemma of the progressive who ends up aiding the conservative merely by campaigning for a better way than offered by the middle-muddle.

Mary Soderstrom said...

Thanks for your good wishes.

Actually it seems that I've got another review, a "mixed" one according to the publicist, but I haven't seen it.

As for the politics, well, one always does what one can.