Category Archives: Pushkin Press
Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li
This book really intrigued me before I started reading Number One Chinese Restaurant the debut by Lillian Li. (One, Imprint of Pushkin Press). I need not have worried. An incredible novel set in a Chinese restaurant and the character’s that both run and work there. We have all eaten in restaurants but how many take time just to stop and think about what really goes on behind the scenes.
This really is the ultimate character driven novel as there are many and you get to meet them. The trials and tribulations of the members of staff at the Beijing Duck House, Rockville, Maryland. They have been dishing up Chinese food now for many decades but when you have many people working closely together even if they are as close as a family, there are the usual tensions that are bubbling away just under the surface.
One aspect of this fabulous novel that I really enjoyed was each of the characters you get to meet in each of the chapters. So many interesting threads through the book that keeps you wanting to know more about the people who work there many as immigrants and their offspring. This really is a very large family drama being played out page by page.
There is Jimmy whose passion is to break away and set up his own restaurant but his relationship with Johnny is complex and many then there is Nan who is the Manager of the Duck House Restaurant and that of Ah-Jack who seems to have been there forever but he is formidable character.
Even in the best of family’s trouble can simmer and bubble to the surface and this does come through in Li’s writing and it is Nan who seems to have to deal with the many complex characters who work there. We also get to meet one of the original owners Feng Fei Wang who is full of zeal, she is wise but can stand up for herself if needs be.
It is a heart-warming story interjected with humour of characters that are workers, friends, family and more. This really is a compelling novel I found hard to leave alone for too long. Lillian Li’s prose is delicious and one I devoured like my favourite Chinese meal. Highly Recommended .
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION
Thank you to Tabitha Pelly at Pushkin Press for the review copy of Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li.
Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li was published by One an imprint of Pushkin Press and was published on 7th Febraury 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
No Place to Lay One’s Head by Françoise Frenkel
Some people have dreams of opening and running a bookshop. For Françoise Frenkel this was her dream She loved books when she was growing up. In No Place to Lay One’s Head (Pushkin Press) is Françoise’s memoir. A Jewish woman born in Poland opened her bookshop La Masion du Livre which was a French bookshop in Berlin in 1921. A dream come true. Her memoir was published in 1945 in Geneva to a small press but then was discovered in a flea market Nice in 2010.
Françoise was obsessed with books when she was growing up in Poland then after her studies she started as a bookseller before opening her own bookshop. The came Adolf Hitler and the birth of National Socialism. Soon Jews in Germany became a target and shops owned and run by Jews became a target. Then came Kristallnacht (shards of broken glass in the streets) when shops and property were targeted. In July 1939 in fear for her life she fled Berlin leaving behind her beloved French bookshop and headed for Paris. Then as the war engulfed France she had to leave Paris and then it was a case of moving from one safe house to another to escape the round-up of those Jews in Vichy France who fled to this part of France to seek safety. For Françoise she missed this by just moments. Now she needed to find somewhere to hide and then escape before she was arrested and then sent to a concentration camp.
There was of course those in Vichy France who would easily tell the authorities of her whereabouts but at the same time there was those who bravely hid those Jewish men, women and children knowing too well if caught they would be tortured and then killed.
It was June 1943 that with help Françoise managed to cross the border and arrived in Switzerland. She was safe. It was here she sought solace in writing No Place to Lay One’s Head and was published in September 1945. Only selling a small number of copies. Françoise Frenkel’s memoir was then discovered in a flea market in France in 2010 and translated into English. Though there is no mention of Françoise’s husband who was captured by the Nazis and was murdered at Auschwitz during 1942.
This is a truly heartbreaking memoir written just after she escaped France to neutral Switzerland. It is also an astonishing read and one I could not put down once I had started and after I had finished I wanted to know more about Françoise Frenkel. This is a book that cries out to be read and No Place to Lay One’s Head is highly recommended.
In the years that followed the war I can only hope that Françoise found the peace she craved. Françoise Frenkel died in Nice, France in January 1975.
Thank you Tabitha Pelly for the review copy of No Place to Lay One’s Head by Françoise Frenkel
No Place to Lay One’s Head by Françoise Frenkel was published by Pushkin Press and was published on 31st January 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
Ten Poems from Russia Selected and Introduced by Boris Dralyuk
In association with Pushkin Press
My love of poetry takes me back to my youth when I used to write poetry in my free time. As the years passed I discovered Russian poets as well as Russian literature. It became a love and an obsession. It is my great pleasure to introduce one of the latest releases by Candlestick Press. Ten Poems from Russia which have been selected and introduced by Boris Dralyuk in association with Pushkin Press.
These poetry pamphlets are just the most wonderful introduction to Russian Poetry if you have not yet discovered this. For anyone who knows and understands Russian poets and poetry they will know it is in fact more than just poetry. It encompasses all and everything that is Russian.
Just mentioning the name of Alexander Pushkin evokes many memories for me as I began my love affair with Russian literature and poetry. There are ten poems that have been selected by Boris Dralyuk and without doubt my favourite poem in the collection is My Country Mikhail Lermontov. This is just Russia in verse.
Ten Poems from Russia.
Prologue to Ruslan and Lyudmila by Alexander Pushkin
My Country by Mikhail Lermontov
To Alya by Marina Tsvetaeva
“Take from my palms some sun.. by Osip Mandelstam
In Memory of Sergey Yesenin by Anna Akhmatova
The Lost Tram by Nikolay Gumilyov
Hamlet by Boris Pasternak
The Stroll by Yuri Kazarnovsky
“I still find charm…” by Georgy Ivanov
Bouquet by Julia Nemirovskaya
Candlestick Press are a small independent publisher based in Nottingham and were founded in 2008. The team consists of four dedicated people in Di Slaney (Publisher), Kathy Towers (Assistant Editor) and two admin assistants. Their aim is simple to spread the joy of poetry to adults and children alike who love poetry and or may be just beginning their journey in to enjoying poetry. These small pamphlets are just ideal for bedtime reading or like I have been doing and that is enjoying them on journeys and are just perfect to be given as a gift.
Thank you to Candlestick Press for the review copy of Ten Poems from Russia.
Ten Poems from Russia was published by and was published on 1st June 2018 and is available through selected Waterstones bookshops and also Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
The Gradual Disappearance of Jane Ashland – Nicolai Houm (Translated by Anna Paterson)
The story starts with a woman (Jane Ashland) waking up in a tent in the Norwegian mountains. Outside a storm is battering the bleak landscape and Jane believes she is about to die. The Gradual Disappearance of Jane Ashland by Nicolai Houm (translated by Anna Paterson) is a gripping and compelling story of a woman who flies to Norway to see relatives. But how did Jane Ashland get to be here and alone.
Jane has now found herself alone in a bleak landscape in a tent with no food or water, she has no idea of where she is or how she got here. This is a powerful story that is under 200 pages that I found very difficult to leave. A story that just grabbed hold of my senses and refused to let go until I have finished the last page.
I love a story about leading central character and is just them and here is the perfect example. Told in flashbacks through her life. It turns out that Jane is a wounded soul, damaged by drink and prescription drugs. Yet there is the part of a flashback that Jane was studying literature and her relationships while she was in the States. Over time she tried to reach out to her relatives in Norway, but you always fear there are storm cloud just on the horizon in Janes life and then they hit. Like the mountainous landscape Jane has found herself in, this is a rugged and raw novel. It is bleak and chilling.
What I found through this novel is how incredible Nicolai Houm just little by little feed the reader with details of Jane’s life leaving you with a sense on always wondering about Jane. Reading this I found was like a drug, addictive and once in you wanted more and more. This is stunning piece of writing with complex threads. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Thank you to Pushkin Press for the review copy of The Gradual Disappearance of Jane Ashland.
The Gradual Disappearance of Jane Ashland is published by Pushkin Press and was published on 26th April 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.