Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Book Review: Lucia’s Eyes and Other Stories by Marina Sonkina

There are six short stories in this collection and they are all well worth reading.

The Eyes of Santa Lucia tells us the story of Anton, a boy who grows up somewhere in Russia with his dear father, before the latter is declared an enemy of the state and arrested. Anton is in love with his Spanish neighbor Lucia, a beautiful and mysterious girl, who just by being there brightens up his days.

In the story titled The Runic Alphabet we watch a man as he goes through a long stretch of grief over the death of his beloved Ariadna.

Tractorina’s Travels, that follows, is also a sad story. Tractorina, the main protagonist, will fall victim of a fraud, orchestrated by her late husband’s son, which will leave her alone and penniless a long way from home. Somehow, though, she’s not surprised since as the author puts it: “With Perestroika people have lost their moral compass.”

In Carmelita we meet a man who’s spent most of his life being invisible, but that only until he inherited a lot of money, which at last made him visible. Being rich he decides to travel to Mexico, where he will meet a woman who was everything that he never had, but which he was destined to lose sooner or later.

The events of Christmas Tango take place in Montreal, Canada. This is the story of a shy young man, who -at long last- in his thirties he discovers his biggest passion in life, which is nothing else but tango. Little by little he’ll learn the dance and not before too long he will excel in it. Thus he’ll start dancing time and again with women of all ages that in his eyes looked like “chimeras, just like life is.”

Angels Ascending, Angels Descending is yet another sad story. The story of a sixty-two year old woman that suffers from heart problems and who in order to live has to go under surgery. As she’s left alone in a bed she has all the time in the world to reminiscence about her life, about her youth; a youth which she feels that she wasted searching in vain for her one true love, the perfect being who was never meant to be with her.

Though sad most of the times, these stories are not only well-written, but mostly they are stories with a heart. They speak in a direct way about the people, with their hopes and dreams, their sufferings and disappointments. Happy endings don’t often occur in life, the author seems to say. And I couldn’t agree more.

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