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What You Can See From Here by Mariana Leky


What You Can See From Here by Mariana Leky
UK Publication: July 2021
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★★]

One word review – Quirky. Two word review – Love It!

This ARC was provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Netgalley: On a beautiful spring day, a small village in Western Germany wakes up to an omen: Selma has dreamed of an okapi. Someone is about to die. But who?

As the residents of the village begin acting strangely (despite protestations that they are not superstitious), Selma’s granddaughter Luise looks on as the imminent threat brings long carried secrets to the surface. And when death comes, it comes in a way none of them could have predicted…

A story about the absurdity of life and death, a bittersweet portrait of village life and the wider world that beckons beyond, What You Can See from Here is a story about the way loss and love shape not just a person, but a community.

My Thoughts: I loved this quirky coming of age story set in a small village in Germany. To maintain the magic of  language in a translated book is rare but Tess Lewis manages this flawlessly, I was captivated from the start.

The narrative is non-linear so at times we see Luisa’s reaction to an event before we are told what the event was, I really enjoyed this aspect because it kept me guessing waiting for the reveal and for the narrative to tie up again. As you would expect from a coming of age story it covers all the big events in life. It waddles along at a slow leisurely pace and then BAM it smacks you in the face with something you weren’t expecting.

The characters are all unique and all (eventually) likeable in their own ways, I would love to spend a day in the village meeting everyone for real especially Alaska and Selma.

This is also an understatedly funny book as a few quotes below will show:

“The dog was tired. It had been exhausting to encounter so many old, long-lost friends, he’d never met before.”

“Elsbeth looked at them the way a priest looks at congregants who only come to church on Christmas.”

“Elsbeth could not believe that after so many years she would be the first to learn what everyone already knew.”

“That’s the way it is with guests” Selma had said once “You clean your entire home and your visitor goes straight to the one spot you missed.”

“But I’m not making any noise” “I can hear you not making any noise from here”

Who would like this? This is a gentle story with a sprinkling of magical realism and lots of quirky characters if this appeals to you read it!

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Remedial Stitcher #

    This sounds great! It’s the kind of book I usually enjoy. It’s on my list.

    Liked by 1 person

    August 1, 2021

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