Tasting Sunlight – by Ewald Arenz – independent book review – Fiction

I had read about this award-winning book ( a breakout novel written by a grammar school teacher in Germany) for months in advance and kept waiting for it to show up in local libraries. Turned out that although the original book (written in German) had been published, what I was waiting for was an English translation. Awarded four stars on Goodreads, but 4.5 is probably more accurate.

Because this book is a short (231 pages), tender, beautifully written and inspiring novel about two broken people who help heal each other. A truly lovely and universal story about the power of friendship and the wonderful way individuals can discover their family of choice. Even the book’s title strikes me as beautiful.

At the start, 17-year old Sally in an angry teenager, having just run away from years of treatment for anorexia and harboring a life-long feeling of NOT belonging anywhere. Liss, a middle-aged, reclusive farmer, working a large farm on her own, is carefully hiding her own tragic back story. Chance brings them together and Liss offers Sally a bed for the night.

Author Ewald Arenz
Photo from Wikipedia in Germany

The way in which their relationship grows and develops, over a relatively short period of time, enriches both their lives in deep and unexpected ways. And we get to watch how small gestures and sensitivity slowly build trust, so that people become able to share themselves with others.

Ewald Arenz’s careful, delicate, and economic use of words– along with his skill in gently exposing our most vulnerable moments– makes reading this book a true pleasure. And certainly some of that praise deservedly goes to the skilled translator, Rachel Ward.

More about the author, Ewald Arenz.

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