When K trew his belated 50th birthday party in June we discovered that one of his uncles has a godchild who is a writer. A published writer (me veeeeeeeeeeeeery jealous, although I have published too, but not a complete book. not yet.). How Cool. I was seriously impressed.
I think you can call yourself a writer when you write (a lot), whether you have published or not. Some people may disagree on that matter, but that is okay. A writer writes, right?
The Dutch newspaper NRC gave this book four stars, which is quite a high score and so, when our book club “The Soccer club” (don’t ask …) decided to read the book our expectations were high. We had, as always, mixed opinions about the book. One loved it, another one thought is was okay-ish and a third one said there was way too much talk about soccer in book. I agreed on that as I don’t like soccer. But overall, we enjoyed it.
What I like about being part of a reading club is that you read books you normally wouldn’t choose to read. We rotate in choosing a book so in a way we are ‘forced’ to step out of our comfort zone.
Ow, I completely forget to name the title of the book and the name of the author. It’s called: Bloemkool uit Tsjernobyl, een vadergeschiedenis, van Roman Helinksi. In English: Cauliflower from Chernobyl, a father story, by Roman Helinski. unfortunately the book hasn’t been translated into English yet.
Now, with K’s uncle as an important contact we tried to invite the writer for some kind of a literary event. I offered to held it in my house with nice coffee and cupcakes, but as we had no idea how many people would show up we switched to the library-location. And so, after e-mailing back and forward, we planned an evening with and at the nearest library. My sweet friend B did most of the work for this so all credits go to her. Thanks B!
We had no idea how many people would attend. Ten, twenty, thirty? I was worried that only a few people would show up as the library didn’t have enough copies to lend out. You do want to read a book first, don’t you? Well, I do anyway.
I think the library should have gone to local bookshops and ask them if they could make a nice window display and advertise. We probably would have gotten more visitors and the bookshop would have sold books, a win-win situation, right? Maybe I should do the pr next time …
Anyway, we had a lovely evening, there were about twenty guests (only women, where were the men??) and Roman answered all of our questions without hesitation. And we were curious, curious indeed! It was very interesting to hear how the writing and publishing process takes place. The Netherlands is a small market for books and it is not easy to make a living as a writer. And although most of the present lady’s already had read the book Roman sold all copies he had brought with him. Yay!
So, thank you Roman Helinski, thank you so very much you took the time and the effort to travel to that little library at the country of West Maas en Waal, and to tell us your story to those twenty women. You’ve treated us to a very pleasant evening and we are looking forward to your new book!
Roman Helinski, Bloemkool uit Tsjernobyl: Een vadergeschiedenis. Prometheus, 240 blz., € 19,95
PS: Some of the books we have read in our book club:
The signature of all things – Elizabeth Gilbert (loved it)
War and Peace – Lev Tolstoy (yes, we all read this! well, some of us did …)
De ontdekking van de hemel/The discovery of heaven – Harry Mullisch
The life of Pi Yann Martel (not my cup of tea …)
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Night train to Lisbon – Pascal Mercier
The colour – Rose Tremain (one of my favorites)
Een schitterend gebrek/In Lucia’s eyes – Arthur Japin
One hundred years of solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez