How we influence each other every day! Maya Duran, an Istanbul University administrator, meets Max Wagner, an elderly German Catholic who returns to Istanbul to bring closure to his past. An unexpected story of deep love unfolds amid glimpses of Turkish political, cultural, and religious life. It’s easy to see why Livanelli is one of Turkey’s most popular writers and cultural figures.
Primarily taking place during the forgotten Laotian Civil War, a war that is known as “America’s secret war of the 1960s,” Run Me to Earth follows three orphan teenagers just trying to survive among the wreckage around them. Paul Yoon has written the perfect follow up to the gorgeous collection of stories in The Mountain, that also follows the lives of innocent civilians who are left to pick up the pieces after destruction and war. We see the three teenagers grow up and separate but they remain forever tied though their tragic memories of childhood. Yoon has proven to be masterful at creating quietly compelling characters with real human stories that stay with you once you close the book. This is a timeless work by a writer at the top of his craft.
Given news from Syria in recent years I was hesitant to read this book, not believing that a story about a beekeeper could capture war, loss, and devastation. Once I started reading, the chapters flowed into one another with a pace matched only by the intensity of Nuri and Afrah’s journey as they fled Syria. This book, informed by Lefteri’s refugee volunteer work with UNICEF in Athens, Greece and her own experience as a daughter of Cypriot refugees, makes you stay up late or miss your bus stop (or both!). If we are lucky, our hearts will ache and grow, love and mourn, grieve and be more open than before.