What we learn in Chapter One - and what our Books Editor, Andrew, thinks might be important
We learn about the forty days of the soul’s journey home - a common belief in the Eastern Orthodox religion. (Here’s a link that explains how it works according to St. John Maximovitch)
And the grandfather is already dead. He died in “an obscure town called Zdrevkov”, whose name is the first confirmation we have that our story takes place somewhere in central Europe, probably the Balkans. Google Maps offers a few possibilities for that name, possibly all of them wrong. After all, the narrator can’t find it on the map either. But we’re likely in the right kind of area.
Our narrator, still unnamed, is “at the last service station before the border”, traveling to an orphanage in Brejevina, “up the coast” with a friend and colleague who is escaping the state prosecutor, as she does not want to denounce her former boss, thus ending her career. The pair are there to deliver inoculations to an orphanage - but also to run from the lives they put on hold behind them.
Our narrator knew about her grandfather’s cancer, but had kept it from her grandmother. We hear her grandfather’s voice, both old fashioned and profane: “Fuck. You go looking for a gnat and you find a donkey.”
Let us know your thoughts on Chapter one below, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at #hpbookclub - we’ll post the most thought provoking on here."
Our Books editor is already analyzing ‘The Tiger’s Wife,’ the first pick of our HuffPost Book Club. If you need me, I’ll be on the couch falling in love with this book tonight.