What an apt title for such an beautiful book. When I started reading Tasting Sunlight I was fed up and a bit feeling sorry for myself. Yet that soon changed and it’s because of this very tender novel. This is a novel full of a rare, delicate beauty.
Tasting Sunlight is the debut novel by Ewald Arenz, and has remained in the German Top 10 Bestseller list since its publication three years ago. It has also sold over 400,000 copies in Germany. Following its translation into English by Rachel Ward, it is now about to land in the UK. Published by Orenda Books, it is actually released tomorrow, Thursday 23 June 2022. It is also being made into a major movie. I can’t wait for that. I just hope I love the film as much as I love the book. I think it will make me cry as the book definitely did.
Tasting Sunlight is one of the most moving tales of friendship that I have ever read. Sally encounters Liss for the first time in the midst of the countryside following her recent escape from a clinic where she was being treated for anorexia. An angry teenager, Sally is deemed to be suicidal and just wants to be left in peace. Forty-something Liss lives her life very much alone on her farm, and is treated as a bit of an outcast in her local community. A sense of tragic mystery surrounds Liss that really endeared me to her. Throughout the novel, snapshots of Liss’s past are succinctly and skilfully told, enhancing the uneasy mystique. My heart fully broke when Liss’s history is fully revealed.
An unspoken connection that neither can really understand is made between Sally and Liss as soon as they meet. With no questions asked and not knowing where or who Sally is running from, Liss offers the teenager a bed for the night. That one night soon becomes weeks as Sally slowly integrates herself in rural farm life. Surrounded by nature and discovering a more simple, natural way of life, Sally begins to slowly heal:
Perhaps it was like the harvest…but growth happened by itself…vines blossomed, that the tiny flowers developed into berries and finally ripened into grapes. You couldn’t do a thing about it. It just happened. It depended solely on the soil and the sun. Perhaps Sally had just been growing in the wrong place before.
Nature is such a powerful theme throughout the narrative that it is like a character in itself. In a sense, Arenz’s style is almost poetic with his beautiful use of nature in his pros to portray Sally and Liss’s story. His writing also reminds us to use our senses more to really be aware of the changing of the seasons and the nature that surrounds us.
In a mindful way that I needed, Tasting Sunlight slowed me down and mesmerised me. I felt that it really soothed. It is a tender story that just meanders along with not a great deal happening, yet in a paradoxical way, there is so much dramatic, emotional tension and beauty too. That is true art in my view.
Tasting Sunlight is a novel that is sure to stay with me. It deserves to be in the UK Top Ten Bestseller list as well as the German one. It has left a mark on my heart and I’m sure it will leave one on your heart too once you read it.
Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to the blog tour of Tasting Sunlight. Anne definitely has a special knack for knowing the fiction that I like. To follow the blog tour, please see below.
Happy reading everyone! 🙂