Tania Skarynkina’s stories mix life in a small Belarusian town with thoughts on world literature. Sitting by her window with a glass of cranberries in sugar syrup bought from a woman in the market who assured her they came from Karelia, she muses ‘Perhaps they have some kind of effect when you eat them. Spiritual maybe? So I eat and wait for the cranberries to work their magic on me.’ Skarynkina is impelled to spend the last of her money on a trip to Krakow to meet Czesław Miłosz but never finds his address, so he remains to her an idol like Elvis Presley dressed in gold lame. Each story has a charm and imaginative flight of its own.
‘She writes as if penning a letter to a close friend, loosely, intimately, but never less engagingly…’
Skarynkina’s essays ‘exist at the very edge of what we can imagine.’