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Around the Heart in Eleven Years: A Travel Memoir [Paperback]

Epp Petrone Epp , Petrone Epp Petrone
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

20 July 2010
In this frank, self-confessional travel memoir, Estonian bestselling author Epp Petrone goes looking for lost faces and memories and along the way must deal with the baggage she left behind. At twenty-four, the aspiring writer abandons her safe domestic life and high-paying career to follow an eccentric merchant around the world. On the road she finds a mix of exotic men, nomadic philosophers, wandering minstrels, kindred souls, unusual friendships, hard times, and lost children. All of it is captured in her precious journals - journals she leaves behind with an old Spanish sea captain who promises to wait for her. A decade later she decides to go back to retrieve her memories, but in order to get them back, she first has to reckon with her past. The stories here weave into stories, they take readers around the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, across Russia to Central Asia and the Middle East, from asylums to jails, arms factories to aquariums, and open-air markets to apocalyptic battlefields where the secrets of survival are revealed.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Petrone Print (20 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9949904374
  • ISBN-13: 978-9949904372
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,516,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars life in fiction 6 Sep 2010
Officially, and personally, this is my favorite book from our publishing firm Petrone Print, but it was a bittersweet, sometimes bruising experience for me as an individual, because it is Epp's story, and Epp's story obviously has hooked me in a way that no one else's story ever did or could. I'm an addict, in other words, a junkie husband.

Its most terrifying moment? For me, it's when Jura, the Russian sailor, leads his kidnappee to a hotel and lays some currency down at the reception desk. "A room for two please."

Its most sensual moment? The sands of Gran Canaria blowing through the windows with the morning breeze. The island, that island, the volcanic magnet, bringing you in and blowing you out. It stays with you.

Its most ridiculous moment? The voice of our young heroine as she tells the Slovenian arms dealer at a hotel in Minsk that she doesn't feel well, and won't be accompanying him to lunch.

Its most brainwashing moment? Listening to Harri Hommik, the itinerant peddler, as he explains the intricacies of fish breeding and how wars are good for genetics. If you listen long enough, you'll start to believe him, and if you listen even longer, you'll start thinking like him.

In the end, I respect this book because it contains the truth. We all live the truth but often conceal it from one another. And so I respect and encouraged this book, even if some of it is rough going, because to me, Epp's story is not just her story, it is the story, in different ways, of many people, and it needs telling. We, at least we writers, need to tell the truth. Only through these coded texts called books can we reach other humans in need. Books are like life preservers. I feel as though Epp, with this book, has crafted a whole lifeboat of a book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By ljb
This is a great book, you meet some crazy/fascinating characters and the story will have you so wrapped up in it, that you won't want to put the book down until you have finished it. At the end of it you will think about your own life and how different choices and events have taken you to where you are today and how wonderfully everything has come or will come together. This book taught me a very important lesson - to take anything uncomfortable that comes my way as part of MY journey, knowing it'll all make sense once I look back at it later on.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for those who like to keep a journal and to travel 28 Aug 2010
By ljb - Published on Amazon.com
This is a great book, you meet some crazy/fascinating characters and the story will have you so wrapped up in it, that you won't want to put the book down until you have finished it. At the end of it you will think about your own life and how different choices and events have taken you to where you are today and how wonderfully everything has come or will come together. This book taught me a very important lesson - to take anything uncomfortable that comes my way as part of MY journey, knowing it'll all make sense once I look back at it later on.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific and smart piece of fine literature 2 Oct 2010
By Kairus - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I could not put this book down until I had finished reading the very last page. I expected a fun and light reading, but few chapters into it had to get my yellow highlighter. Not because I want to remember the names of all the exotic places this story takes place at, but because in it I found quite a few answers I've been searching for pertaining to my own life. "Around the Heart in 11 Years" is so much more than a travel memoir. It's a thoroughly engaging, brutally honest and intelligently written life lesson peppered with philosophy, anthropology, geography and history. Here are just a few of my favorite quotes:
"The elephant in the room had moved itself again a bit and stepped on someone's foot"; "Can fake smiles and laughter generate real joyful energy?"; "The intensity of traveling is not suitable for those who have unfinished business between them, even if they decided to wear "happily ever after" expressions on their faces"; "When you give something up, you can open a new door or a window, or at least find a small crack in the wall that shows you a new world!"; "When you're writing about reality, you have to be brutally honest with yourself, but what I saw in those moments of reality in my life wasn't the most pleasant of images"; "When you don't feel good, read books!"; "When you've made your decision, then you'll know, but the main thing is not to feel guilty about your choice."; "You can have the perfect person, who's rational, who has a strong intuition and who can manage it all very well, but if his sense of kindness is underdeveloped then he's a cripple!".

This is one of those books that I will enjoy reading over and over again.

(Extra bonus: it's only October and I already know what I will be getting for quite a few of my friends for Christmas!!)
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars life in fiction 6 Sep 2010
By J. Petrone - Published on Amazon.com
Officially, and personally, this is my favorite book from our publishing firm Petrone Print, but it was a bittersweet, sometimes bruising experience for me as an individual, because it is Epp's story, and Epp's story obviously has hooked me in a way that no one else's story ever did or could. I'm an addict, in other words, a junkie husband.

Its most terrifying moment? For me, it's when Jura, the Russian sailor, leads his kidnappee to a hotel and lays some currency down at the reception desk. "A room for two please."

Its most sensual moment? The sands of Gran Canaria blowing through the windows with the morning breeze. The island, that island, the volcanic magnet, bringing you in and blowing you out. It stays with you.

Its most ridiculous moment? The voice of our young heroine as she tells the Slovenian arms dealer at a hotel in Minsk that she doesn't feel well, and won't be accompanying him to lunch.

Its most brainwashing moment? Listening to Harri Hommik, the itinerant peddler, as he explains the intricacies of fish breeding and how wars are good for genetics. If you listen long enough, you'll start to believe him, and if you listen even longer, you'll start thinking like him.

In the end, I respect this book because it contains the truth. We all live the truth but often conceal it from one another. And so I respect and encouraged this book, even if some of it is rough going, because to me, Epp's story is not just her story, it is the story, in different ways, of many people, and it needs telling. We, at least we writers, need to tell the truth. Only through these coded texts called books can we reach other humans in need. Books are like life preservers. I feel as though Epp, with this book, has crafted a whole lifeboat of a book. From her jagged wanderlust brought on by a tormented loneliness, she has finally assembled something sturdy, something that cannot sink.

The Estonian title of the book is Kas Süda on Ümmargune? - "Is the Heart Round". We played with many English-language titles for the book and none seemed to fit, but Epp liked this title, a play on the classic Jules Verne adventure novel. I think the reference to Verne, and an earlier era of continent hopping, suits it perfectly.
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