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life in fiction,
This review is from: Around the Heart in Eleven Years: A Travel Memoir (Paperback)
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.