by Sophie van Llewyn
About Bottled Goods
• Paperback: 180 pages
• Publisher: Harper Perennial (July 28, 2020)
• ISBN-10: 1912054302
• ISBN-13: 978-1912054305
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.
Longlisted for The Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019, The Republic of Consciousness Prize 2019 and The People’s Book Prize 2018.
‘Enjoyable to read’ – Dolly Alderton, The High Low.
‘A story to savour, to smile at, to rage against and to weep over.’ – Zoe Gilbert, author of ‘Folk’
How do you get your reading mojo back? I’ve been on a serious slump and couldn’t find my groove again, until I did a “timed” buddy read with my #BookstaBestie @shriekingviolets428. Have you ever done this? It was a race to see who could finish the book first, and boy did it get me going. Not to mention the book was hands down a 5 star read and just absolutely phenomenal. ⠀
Sophie van Llewyn wrote Bottled Goods in 2018 in Europe, then published by Fairlight Books. She had the luck of having the US & Canada pick up and republish this amazing book this year by @harperperennialand I had the fortunate opportunity to receive a gifted copy.⠀
Told with short chapters that read almost like a diary, the tale tells the story of Alina and her husband’s troubles when her brother-in-law defects to the West from Communist Romania. When both of their careers are affected because they are now persons of interest from the secret service, Alina has no choice but to turn to her aunt the wife of a communist leader for help. Only her Aunt’s way of helping revolves more around her practice of the “old folk ways” and not the practical kind of help she was hoping. With this we see a touch of magic realism interlaced into a story of the woes of living in Communist Romania and the strain of a new marriage. Completely unputdownable, a fast read with an emotional charge and quite reminiscent of some of your grandmothers folklore, Bottled Goods is not one to miss. It’s no wonder it was on the long list for 2019 for Women’s Prize for Fiction. ⠀
This was a magnificent read and I’m so glad to have received a copy and that Jackie chose it for our #speedbuddyread. The both of us devoured it in no time too. I know you are wondering, so I will admit defeat. Jackie beat me by 30 pages and 15 minutes. I was ahead of her in the beginning by 30 pages and somehow she was able to not only catch me but then pass me up. Although she is the champ, I think we both won here, since we both loved the book. But this rivalry is far from over. FAR FROM OVER.
*Oh and my mojo is back!
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About Sophie van Llewyn
Sophie van Llewyn is the author of Bottled Goods, available from Fairlight Books. To be published in the USA and Canada by Harper Perennial. Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019, Republic of Consciousness Prize 2019, the People’s Book Prize.
Sophie also writes flash fiction, memoir, short stories, and she has recently finished a historical novel set during WW2. Her prose was published in various publications, such as The Guardian, New Delta Review, Ambit, Litro, New South Journal, Banshee, The Lonely Crowd and many others. She’s also won or been listed for a number of competitions. Sophie was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fictions, Best Microfiction and Best of the Net.
Sophie is co-editing the National Flash Fiction Day Anthology in 2020.
.Find out more about Sophie at sophievanllewyn.com
Happy Reading and Be Nice!