Praise and Poems
This deceptively simple translation of Maria Miniailo’s second novel begins as a touching portrayal of childhood innocence, surviving against the odds in conditions of familial and institutionalised neglect. But the emotional drama of this extraordinary coming-of-age story builds steadily, through vivid and increasingly disturbing events, to a stark and lyrical peak with haunting echoes of Dostoevsky, William Golding and Olga Tokarczuk. Naomi Foyle
FROM THE NOVEL:
In the evenings, when fog descended onto the town of M. (it was not in vain that it won the fame of being the foggiest town in the country!), I looked out the windows of the ‘Old Lady Willow’, at the viscous mist, in which the crowns of trees could hardly be seen, and thought about my life. The present seemed to me one continuous hopelessness, slumbering behind an old high fence . . . Slavik liked to repeat that ‘we all came to this world with a purpose’, and I kept wondering, what was my purpose . . . I wanted to become a traveller, I wanted to make a lot of money and I wanted to leave the grey, foggy town of M. where people were born only to die one day.
‘Vitka, the good life is where we happen not to be,’ Slavik laughed, listening to my reflections. But I didn’t know how it was out there. And even more so, neither did I know where this mysterious ‘there’ was, and that’s why it attracted me more and more every day.