Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hello, Agnieszka!

*may contain spoilers for first book*

This sequel to author E. Journey’s Hello, My Love!, opened with quotes by Hermann Hesse and Pablo Casals about holding on and music, begins with the newly-married Elise Halverson-Thorpe analyzing a client’s testimony, with her father calling with the grim news that Peter has been hospitalized and had attempted suicide, supposedly being ill with a debilitating disease. Elise and Greg have a child named Gregory, nicknamed Goyo, a Spanish diminutive for his identity, and who participates with his father in various actions such as jogging and kite-flying.

In the third chapter, the story takes a sudden change in setting to the past, which this reviewer found out after perusing the book’s Amazon page to be the 1970s, with little reference to contemporary events such as the Vietnam War, and where the chief protagonist, the daughter of Polish immigrants named Agnieszka, called Ania for short by her family or its English equivalent, Agnes, as an affectionate moniker, begins her narration of the bulk of the story’s chapters. She dreads her daily doses of cod liver oil, and ultimately begins to take piano lessons with her Aunt Jola, excelling in this area.

Ania also forms a relationship with Lenny Weisz, introduced to him through his brother Robbie who also took piano lessons from Jola, with several twists coming in the latter portion of the novel. The writer ends her story by thanking the reader for spending time with the titular character, and notes that she claims to be a realist with little imagination, fitting for a piece of realistic fiction. Even so, this is an enjoyable sequel that those who enjoyed the first entry will enjoy, although this reviewer found the change in time to come out of nowhere, with a few headscratching moments throughout.

Author's Bio:

EJourney is a realist who thinks she has little imagination. Credit that to her training (Ph. D., University of Illinois) and work in mental health, writing for academics and bureaucrats, and critiquing the work of others. She’s been striving ever since to think and write like normal people.

She’s a well-traveled flâneuse—a female observer-wanderer—who watches, observes, listens. And writes. A sucker for happy endings, she finds enough that depresses her about real life, but seeks no catharsis by writing about it. For her, writing is escape, entertainment. She doesn’t strive to enlighten. Not deliberately. But the bias of her old profession does carry over into her writing. So, instead of broad shoulders and heaving bosoms, she goes into protagonists' thoughts, emotions, inner conflicts, insecurities, and struggles to reach balance and grow.

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