Monday, February 24, 2014

BLOG TOUR: The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena

Title: The Taste of Apple Seeds
Author: Katharina Hagena
Genre: Adult Magic Realism/Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: February 4/2014
Adquired:  e-ARC provided by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

An international bestseller, The Taste of Apple Seeds is a story of love and loss that will captivate your heart.

When Iris unexpectedly inherits her grandmother's house in the country, she also inherits the painful memories that live there.

Iris gives herself a one-week stay at the old house, after which she'll make a decision: keep it, or sell it. The choice is not so simple, though, for her grandmother's cottage is an enchanting place where currant jam tastes of tears, sparks fly from fingertips, love's embrace makes apple trees blossom, and the darkest family secrets never stay buried.

As Iris moves in and out of the flicker between remembrance and forgetting, she chances upon a forgotten childhood friend who could become more.

The Taste of Apple Seeds is a bittersweet story of heartbreak and hope passed down through the generations.


The Taste of Apple Seeds seems to be another book that was lost in translation for me, though more in terms of story line, as opposed to writing style. Because the writing, simply put, was absolutely captivating. I'm not sure if we have Jamie Bulloch (the translator) to thank for such descriptive perfection, or the author herself, as I'm completely ignorant to the process of translating a book from one language to another. Though I would like to think, and am deciding now that I do, that Katharina Hagena's original German narrative read just as powerfully. 

There seems to be a theme in translated books, one that finds the narrative to be overly descriptive, with only a hint of a plot line beneath a myriad of words. Unfortunately, The Taste of Apple Seeds fell prey to this problem, but made up for it in a big way: Hagena's writing was fantastical. If I didn't go into this book looking for a story, I would have rated it 5 stars on it's poetic prose alone. Iris finds herself as the sole inheritor of her late Grandmother's home. A home that is fraught with memories of the long gone, and whispered elements of magic. In the typical style of finding oneself, Iris encounters old friends baring new secrets, and begins to unravel and piece together the truths she remembers, with the ones she now knows about. That was the premise of the book, but the content read like a dream you almost can't remember, with snippets of memory, and blinks of things you thought you saw, but can't be quite sure you did.

Hagena's characters almost reminded me of ones that Neil Gaiman might conjure up, especially Iris's Aunt Inga, who was apparently born during a lightning storm, and now possesses an odd physical quirk that has her charged with sparks of electricity. The descriptions of rural Germany were dreamlike, and were so wonderfully easy to become absorbed in. The house, and the area around it became Iris's little world, and I was glad to sit in it with her, as she experienced bouts of small, unexplained moments of magic: a tree sprouting apples overnight, or a bookshelf that seemed to rearrange itself when no one was looking. The romance aspect was magical in it's own right, as Iris became reacquainted with a childhood friend. There was so much to be found in this book, but at the same time, much to be desired.

I would definitely suggest The Taste of Apple Seeds to those looking for a getaway book, one that doesn't require too much attention, but has the ability to help you forget harsher realities. You might not develop a deep connection to it's characters, or even the story it's trying to tell, but if it's words strung together beautifully that you're looking for, your heart will find it here.
Recommended for Fans of: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, Magic Realism, Cultural Fiction, Germany, Dramatic Fiction, Contemporary.



Click HERE to read all about Katharina on her Goodreads page! (please note, that all descriptions are in German, and will require a text translator to read in English)


Thank-you to Trish from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to William Morrow for sending me a print copy to review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour

1 comment:

  1. Your comments about the author's writing and the comparison to Gaiman's characters make me think this is an author to watch! Thanks for being on the tour!


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