*The Breakout German Bestseller*
– Tasting Sunlight
[ About the Book ]
Teenager Sally has just run away from a clinic where she to be treated for anorexia. She’s furious with everything and everyone, and wants to be left in peace.
Liss is in her forties, living alone on a large farm that she runs single-handedly. She has little contact with the outside world, and no need for other people.
From their first meeting, Sally realises that Liss isn’t like other adults; she expects nothing of Sally and simply accepts who she is, offering her a bed for the night with no questions asked.
That night becomes weeks and then months, as an unlikely friendship develops and these two damaged women slowly open up – connecting to each other, reconnecting with themselves, and facing the darkness in their pasts through their shared work on the land.
Tasting Sunlight is a story of friendship across generations, of love and acceptance, of the power of nature to heal and transform, and the goodness that surrounds us, if only we take time to see it…
[ My Review ]
Tasting Sunlight by Ewald Arenz will be published with Orenda Books June 23rd and is described as ‘achingly beautiful, profound, invigorating and uplifting.’ Nothing is lost in the translation by Rachel Ward, with Tasting Sunlight taking the reader into a small village community in the German countryside. Gorgeous and atmospheric descriptions of rural scenes are scattered throughout as we immerse ourselves in a story of friendship and of self-discovery.
Sally is an outraged teenager. She has spent more than one occasion in a rehab clinic to treat her anorexia but this time she takes the unprecedented decision to run away. Frustrated with the opinions of others that are always foisted on her and the restrictions on her movements while resident in the clinic, Sally literally grabs a bag and makes for the hills. She is sick and tired of the lack of understanding regarding her mental health and she feels hemmed in by all the rules and regulations.
Liss is a woman in her forties living a peaceful existence on a large farm. Her needs are mainly met by what she can cultivate herself, with little requirement for any human interaction. Liss is self-sufficient and has gotten used to this almost hermetic life. Liss, like Sally, is angry at the world and this lonely life has become all she now knows. The familiarity of routine sustains her in the day-to-day, allowing her to spend less time on her own past, her own secrets.
Sally accidentally bumps into Liss as she criss-crosses the countryside, with no plan or any idea of where she is going to find shelter. Sally assists Liss with a tractor issue and Liss offers her a place to stay for the night if she wants, with no questions asked. Sally, although wary of adults in general, senses something different about Liss. She is more accepting, less intrusive, has little to say and doesn’t push opinions down Sally’s throat. Sally gives it a day or two and is cautious around Liss but after a while she accepts Liss’ offer to help out on the farm and they soon get into a rhythm.
Sally and Liss form an unexpected friendship as the days spill into weeks and a routine settles over their days on the farm. They slowly begin to reveal small details to each other about their past lives and their relationship takes on a new dimension. A trust develops and for both it softens their views on the world around them. Sally has a very fractured relationship with her parents but Liss provides her with a more level support system as she is undemanding and expects very little emotionally from Sally. As they work on the vines and sort the potato crop, they start to examine their past and explore new possibilities for their lives ahead.
Tasting Sunlight is very much about the journey that Sally and Liss go on in their search for self, their acceptance of self and their challenging view of the world around them. This is, at times, a dark read, an introspective read but ultimately it is an uplifting tale of self-determination and hope. There is quite an ethereal quality to some of the scenes creating a very vivid image of a place and time. With many beautiful descriptions of the land, the harvest and the preparation of wine, schnapps and more, Tasting Sunlight is perfectly titled as we follow the change of the seasons and the developing friendship of two flawed individuals. An affecting tale, Tasting Sunlight is gently paced, while also adroitly reflecting the struggles of two hurting individuals. With over 385,000+ copies sold in Germany alone, and soon to be a major movie, Tasting Sunlight is one of those unexpectedly heart-warming books.
[ Author Bio ]
Ewald Arenz, born in Nürnberg in 1965, studied English and American literature and history.
He is a teacher at a secondary school in Nürnberg.
His novels and plays have received many awards.
Ewald lives near Fürth with his family.
[ Translator Bio ]
Rachel Ward is a freelance translator of literary and creative texts from German and French to English. Having always been an avid reader and enjoyed word games and puzzles, she discovered a flair for languages at school and went on to study modern languages at the University of East Anglia.
She spent the third year working as a language assistant at two grammar schools in Saaebrücken, Germany. During her final year, she realised that she wanted to put these skills and passions to use professionally and applied for UEA’s MA in Literary Translation, which she completed in 2002.
Her published translations include Traitor by Gudrun Pausewang and Red Rage by Brigitte Blobel, and she is a member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting.