Monday, December 3, 2012

Tannatek and Leemann

The StorytellerLady Luck seemed to like smiling at me when I’m in a book-hunting mood.

Through some kind of bookstore serendipity, I stumbled upon a copy of Antonia Michaelis’ The Storyteller. There was something about its synopsis that drew me in; I think I was initially curious as to how the author will make reality and fairytale stand cheek by jowl, and if she can weave both into one sleek patchwork of literature. What I encountered inside was nothing I expected. Most YA books today—bittersweet or otherwise—have a certain 'candy' feel to it that screams, "I'm written for you young peeps!" This novel is not one of those.

The Storyteller is part-mystery, part-romance, and part-thriller. You'll be surprised how Michaelis evenly divides the novel into those three. I was only twenty pages in when I found myself muttering, "This book is probably going to rival The Solitude of Prime Numbers (Paolo Giordano) in my heart." And that’s saying a lot—Prime is an unsurpassed lit royalty for me when it comes to coming-of-age love stories. 

For some peculiar reason, I get easily magnetized by depressing stories. Nestling into my system with no apparent effort are tales that are twisted, un-sugarcoated, and chock-full of brutal truth, yet peppered  sparingly with sparks of hope across its storyline. These sparks may or may not bloom in the end. I’m not a happy-ever-after junkie, but when I start caring for the characters so much, I often feel like melting into a pool of crying mess when they don’t get a fairytale ending. It happened in Prime.

The Storyteller is very bleak and dark that the fairytale and romantic angle it flaunts in blurbs are barely existent. Well, they are there, but they’re wrapped up in a cloud of grim and grit, and there are only a handful of times when you can see a little glint of hope. School drug dealer aka “Polish peddler” Abel Tannatek and good-girl-in-a-bubble Anna Leemann are the main characters. I’m  currently 170 pages in (I put down the book a few minutes ago) and I can already foresee what I’ll be by the end of the book if they don’t get a blissful conclusion. If they won’t, well, at least I wish the author gave them a well-written ending. I’ll tell more about this book in my review.

The images above are from the book trailer, which you can watch here.

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