3 books from a literary critic – The City, 05.04.2022

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Literary critic Konstantin Milchin was asked to name new books this month that should not be missed. The selection includes a tender text about childhood trauma and love, a new novel by the author of “The Big Little Lie” and a non-standard Chinese book about Taiwan, ecology and mythology.

Vera Bogdanova. “Poisoned Fruit Season”

What to read in April: 3 books from a literary critic

The main characters are three characters: two girls and one young man. They are all plus or minus 30 years old, but we see their history from childhood in the 1990s, then adolescence in the 2000s and already entering adulthood in 2010. All of them have one thing in common: they have lacked parental love and a normal relationship. Due to personal childhood trauma, the heroes do not understand how to live. And this book about love, which, on the one hand, is impossible, and on the other – it, of course, everyone wants. “Season of Poisoned Fruits” is a clever and delicate text, the circulation of which has almost sold out. So we can say that this is almost a bestseller in modern times.

Liana Moriarty. “Apples never fall”

What to read in April: 3 books from a literary critic

The thesis is a bit controversial, and the book is interesting. Liana Moriarty is the same writer who wrote the novel The Big Little Lie, and a great TV series was made based on it. The book takes place in Australia. The plot is built around a young family couple who once coached tennis players. They have four children, all of whom are also great tennis players. One day, a barefoot, bloodied girl comes to an elderly but still cheerful couple and says that she was beaten by a guy. Everyone begins to feel sorry for the heroine, and now she settles with them in the role of free servants, cooks and cleaners. At the same time, it somehow destroys the family from within. And in another plot-time layer, a year later, we realize that the wife of the family has disappeared somewhere and the police suspect her husband of murder. And here are two plots: one – in which there may have been a crime, the other – in which we may see how this crime was conceived and committed. Strangely enough, it turns out that this is not a detective. And it’s not a spoiler.

In Min-i. “Man with faceted eyes”

What to read in April: 3 books from a literary critic

A masterpiece of Taiwanese literature, at least that’s what the cover promises. In the preface, Wu Min-i confesses his love for Chekhov and Dostoevsky. Here, too, as in Liana Moriarty, there are two plot-time layers, and one seems to be realistic, and the other seems fabulous. In one line we are told the story of a young man who lives in a tribe on an island, and in another – in modern Taiwan, a girl is trying to overcome his tragedy. And here these two temporal, plot, literary layers are interspersed, intertwined in some intricately arranged rope: here and about life on a beautiful island in the Pacific Ocean, and about ecology, and about ancient Chinese mythology. Everything is very unusual, but in fact this is a common feature of all Chinese literature.

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