In English writing, finding prose that is is able to tell a story while remaining minimal, quiet, sleek with large beauty & depth to it is very rare. Open too. Innovative fiction that glows and sparkles with a fire of its own.
A Pocketful of Crows – Joanne Harris
I decided to buy A Pocketful of Crows to gift to my daughter when she is 18. It’s the strong feminine voice you see, and no ordinary voice but the voice of a girl enamored of the wild, of nature. A brown girl. Never has a brown girl been portrayed as such. Plus the writing itself is lush, sublime ultra-gorgeous. It’s the fairytale to end all fairytales.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – Susanna Mary Clarke
This book is everything to me. It represents how research & make-believe can fuse in an exquisite symphony in the hands of a master craftswoman. I have always been one for strong characters. This book is a case-study in character creation. The magic is of course the icing & the cake & all of it.
The Drifting of Spirits – Giselle Pineau
There is no book, translated or otherwise, that has touched me more. The most basic of stories – two people, who wish to build a home together, and how they do it. I consider this book a masterclass in how simple ideas can be the most sublime & moving.
The range & depth of Tanizaki’s work has had me in his thrall from the moment I read In Praise of Shadows. He was always looking to try new things with his work.
Sascha A. Akhtar is the author of four published poetry collections with Salt, Shearsman, ZimZalla UK & Emma Press. With Zimzalla, the collection is in the form of a deck of illustrated cards. She has two further collections upcoming in the last quarter of 2019 with Contraband UK & Knives, Forks and Spoons Press.
In 2020, her book of translations of feminist fiction writer from the Subcontinent Hijab Imtiaz is forthcoming on Oxford University Press India. She has been widely anthologised & translated and is an #ACE funded writer having received her award in October 2018. Her fiction has appeared in Tears In The Fence, Storgy, Anti-Heroin Chic and The Learned Pig. She attended Bennington College, Vermont for her undergraduate degree and attended UMASS-Amherst M.F.A Creative Writing on a full fellowship.
Fbook: @ChoisirLeMotJuste Tw: @AkhtarSascha Insta: @sashickusmagickus