Good morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Katharina Hagena's The Taste of Apple Seeds.
Iris and her aunts have returned to Bootshaven for the family matriarch's funeral. Bertha hadn't been well for quite some time. Her memories had been an issue since she fell from a tree while picking apples. Eventually it grew so bad that her daughters agreed she'd have to be put in a home to live out her last years. And now it's happened. Bertha has died. Her land, stocks and shares, and money are divided between her daughters. Her house, though, goes to Iris, the only remaining grandchild. But Iris isn't sure she wants the house. For one thing, she has her own life to live. A life that isn't in Bootshaven. But more than that it's the memories the house holds. Sad memories left from many generations.
Katharina Hagena has an undeniably gorgeous way of writing. Even in translation, the elegance and beauty of her style and the imagery evoked by her choice of words is wonderful. The touch of magical realism adds yet another layer to the beauty of the book as a whole with fruit trees that mourn their owners, an aunt with an electric touch, and jams made of tears.
The Taste of Apple Seeds is about many things: family history, sisters, mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters, lovers... but ultimately it's a book about memories and stories. The stories we hear and the way we remember them. The stories we tell and the way we tell them.
Iris's family is full of stories, some that have been told over and over and over, others that have been held close, and pieces of tales left out or changed for one reason or another. And it's while she's in her grandmother's home that Iris has to face some of these stories and the secrets and truths behind them.
The book unfolds in a rather lovely way, but also a kind of frustrating way with the narrative circling around and around a revelation, breaking away frequently on seemingly mad tangents. Truthfully, though, I soon came to realize that that's almost always the way a story is told by one person to another. It requires a bit more patience - the book is seemingly short but makes for an unexpectedly dense read.
The Taste of Apple Seeds is the perfect read for a lazy afternoon. It reminded me just a bit of Joanne Harris.
To see what others on the tour thought be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.