Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands


I’ve met Sue Eckstein a few times as she’s the editor of one of our journals. I didn’t even know she was a writer until one of my colleagues mentioned that her first novel, The Cloths of Heaven, was being published (back in 2009). I was surprised that it was a dark comedy set in West Africa in the 1990s – having grown up in Nigeria I was intrigued and bought a copy (which Sue signed when she popped into the office)… 

When I heard her second book was out, I bought it expecting it to be similar to the first (well, you do, don’t you?) but it couldn’t be more different. If I didn’t know any better, I wouldn’t even think they were written by the same person. 

Interpreters is about the lives of two women: their secrets, lies, and all the things that go unspoken within families. It shows how you could be someone’s mother or daughter or grandmother and not really know the other person at all.

The chapters alternate between two characters. Julia is the main protagonist and is visiting her childhood home on an estate. While she’s there she starts remembering various events from her childhood. The second woman is a nameless character – her story is written as the transcript of an interview. She tells the story of a displaced family during World War II and her experiences during and after the war. It wasn’t until very close to the end that I realised what the link between the two characters was…

I loved the book. I didn’t want to put it down – I read it in four days. And I can’t wait for Sue’s next novel!

That’s 16 of my 20 books in 2011! Four to go…

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