Medical sales rep Chris meets Yugoslavian (Serbian) Roza in a bungled prostitue pick up in Archway. Over the winter of discontent, their relationship develops as Chris starts to make regular visits to Roza’s basement flat in a dilapidated-soon-to-be-demolished North London terrace, to hear her life story, episode by episode. Whilst I was never entirely sure that Roza was telling truths or fantasies, or, even, if she was Roza from Belgrade at all, the emotions seemed real enough.
Author’s page: A Partisan’s Daughter – Louis De Bernières
Guardian review: Coffee with Roza by Joanna Briscoe
Read this if you are travelling to Turkey, or to Greece, and you’ll have a far better understanding of their shared history in the dying days of the not so distant Ottoman Empire than you’ll get from any history book.
Recommended on my Wild Walk in the Taurus Mountains, Louis de Bernières‘ novel describes the emergence of the modern day country of Turkey and its borders, particularly those with Greece, Bulgaria, Armenia and Syria, alongside the story of the impact these events had on Eskibahçe, a small thriving multicultural village in the remote coastal province of Lycia.
Beautiful and heartrending, on a scale so vast that all the tears in the world would not suffice.
Amazon.co.uk link: Birds Without Wings – Louis de Bernières