Sophie Van Llewyn: Bottled Goods

9781912054305

This is a first – a flash fiction novella. In 51 pieces of less than 1000 words each, combining magic realism and folklore with the harshest realism, Sophie Van Llewyn tells the story of Alina and her husband Liviu in Ceausescu’s Romania. Some of the pieces are postcards, some letters, some tell of a single incident, like Liviu pinching Alina’s buttocks, and some of an extended crisis, like the repeated visits of the Security men to Alina’s home.

When Liviu’s brother defects to France, everything changes for the young couple. The promising history teacher Liviu is posted to a deadend school that has no use for history, travelling three hours a day and arriving home drunk and depressed.  Alina is viewed with suspicion by her fellow teachers and makes things even worse by trying to protect a student who has committed the crime of bringing a comic to school. Aunt Theresa, who is a kind of witch (the bottled goods of the title refer to one of her specialties, shrinking people down so they fit in bottles) promises to help, but her rituals don’t seem to do the job, and besides, she’s the wife of a high-up official so maybe her loyalties are split. Alina never knows whether her mother will reject her or support her; one thing she does know is that her mother would love her to get divorced from “that peasant”. Eventually Alina and Liviu decide to leave. Easier said than done.

A small book with a big, sad, funny, wise, savage heart. An original,  to be treasured.

Here’s Sophie Van Llewyn talking about how she came to write it:

 

 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Sophie Van Llewyn: Bottled Goods

  1. Sophie Van Llewyn had a rich source in which to draw upon – Ceausescu’s Romania. Perhaps “flash fiction” is a good literary form for this work. I’m thinking that “flash fiction” may be the only form that modern day readers will tolerate, judging by our short attention span.
    Leslie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s