Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for Home is Nearby by Magdalena McGuire and I’ll be sharing her review with you all today. As usual though, here’s the all-important bookish information!
About the book:
1980: the beginning of the Polish Crisis. Brought up in a small village, country-girl Ania arrives in the university city of Wroclaw to pursue her career as a sculptor. Here she falls in love with Dominik, an enigmatic writer at the centre of a group of bohemians and avant-garde artists who throw wild parties. When martial law is declared, their lives change overnight: military tanks appear on the street, curfews are introduced and the artists are driven underground. Together, Ania and Dominik fight back, pushing against the boundaries imposed by the authoritarian communist government. But at what cost? ‘Home Is Nearby’ is a vivid and intimate exploration of the struggle to find your place in the world no matter where you are.
Published by Impress Books in November, click HERE to order your copy!
Have you ever read a book and felt you were destined to find and love it? That although it was set in a different time and place to what you know it resonated with you? Home is Nearby was that book for me and it made my heart sing! It also makes me anxious to write a review as my words are no match for those of the author.
The story begins in Wroclaw, Poland 1980 before martial law was introduced. Ania lives with her father and has gained a scholarship to university to study art (I very briefly studied Art History at university). I was entranced by the descriptions of Ania’s sculptures and the beauty she created out of such diverse mediums. Ania meets and falls in love with Dominik at university and is introduced to his group of avant garde friends including the irrepressible and boundary pushing Malgorzata. I loved how daring she was and that she was prepared to risk her freedom for free speech through her art. Once martial law is imposed life gets a lot tougher for them all; Ania a
nd Dominik fight back for what they believe in but at what cost to their liberty, love and friends/family.
Magdalena’s writing is an absolute delight; I was there, drinking in the art and inhaling the delicious food aromas. In 1981 at aged three I stayed with family in Gdansk. My grandad was Polish so my childhood was full of rye bread, kabanos (polish sausage), sauerkraut etc. This book transported me back to those times.
In 1983 Ania has emigrated to Australia alone and is struggling to find her creative streak after the trauma of all she has experienced. Again the gorgeous descriptions of where Ania was brought back memories; in April 1983 I stayed with relatives in Queensland for three months. I absolutely loved this book and it really packs an emotional punch, I had tears in my eyes at points. The message that art can transcend politics and also give comfort and strength in difficult times was beautiful. Also that home is always nearby because you will forever carry it in your heart.
Five stars, the story will stay with me for a long time.
Make sure to check out the rest of the blog tour: