Summary and book reviews of The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena

The Taste of Apple Seeds

by Katharina Hagena

The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2014, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2014, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer G Wilder

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About this Book

Book Summary

Shimmering with the incandescence and irresistible magic of the novels of Alice Hoffman, Joanne Harris, and Aimee Bender, Katharina Hagena's smash international bestseller, The Taste of Apple Seeds, is a story of love and loss that will captivate your heart.

When Iris unexpectedly inherits her grandmother's house in the country, she also inherits the painful memories that linger there. Should she keep it or sell it? The choice is not easy, for the cottage is a place of enchantment and sensual mystery where currant jam tastes of tears, blue sparks crackle at the touch of fingertips, love makes apple trees bloom - and dark secrets pulsate in the house's nooks and shadows...

Excerpt
The Taste of Apple Seeds

Great-aunt Anna died from pneumonia when she was sixteen. They couldn't cure it because her heart was broken and penicillin hadn't yet been invented. It happened late one July afternoon. Anna's younger sister, Bertha, ran howling into the garden and saw that with Anna's rattling, dying breath all the red currants in the garden had turned white. It was a large garden; the scores of old currant bushes groaned under the heavy weight of the fruit. They should have been picked long before, but when Anna fell ill nobody gave a thought to the berries. My grandmother often told me this story, because it was she who had discovered the currants in mourning. Since that time there had only ever been black currants and white currants in my grandmother's garden, and every attempt to plant a red bush had failed—only white berries would grow on the stems. But nobody minded: the white ones tasted almost as sweet as the red, when you ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Hagena’s lyricism is richly rewarding. Her account, in Iris’s voice, of grandmother Bertha’s sliding into dementia is beautiful and sad, and seems piercingly true-to-life...But the real core of the book is its sensuality, the unexpected tastes and sights and sounds that it evokes, like the surprising taste of marzipan in the seeds of a Boskoop apple.   (Reviewed by Jennifer G Wilder).

Full Review (568 words).

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Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Since much of the nuanced wit is perhaps lost in translation, what remains is a decorative but aimless family chronicle. Matriarch Bertha's decline is, however, viscerally felt and vividly detailed.

Daily Mail (UK)

Intriguing and carefully written.

Sunderland Echo (UK)

Hagena's sensitivity and attention to detail, and a narrator whose honesty and comical clumsiness keep the story light and engaging, have universal appeal.

Metro (UK)

The book works a slow charm as Iris chronicles the love life of one aunt after another.

The Times (UK)

This melancholy novel about lifting the layers of history is packed with gorgeous imagery and undertones of buried secrets...Sultry, tragic and intensely atmospheric

The Independent (UK)

Beautifully phrased, artful and sometimes ingenious...The Taste of Apple Seeds is atmospheric and sensual...Hagena ingrains the creaking old house - and the book - with melancholy; every word, every place is weighted with memories.

Good Housekeeping (UK)

Unbearably moving but ultimately uplifting.

Notes Bibliographiques (FR)

In a fluid and delicate writing style [Hagena] intertwines remembering and forgiving, a moving story.

Irish News

Hagena's sensitivity and attention to detail, and a narrator whose honesty and comical clumsiness keep the story light and engaging, have a universal appeal.

Elle (FR)

Between the lines, you smell the odor 'of apples and old stones'...You eat her apple entirely, even with the apple seeds.

Le Nouvel Observateur (FR)

The Taste of Apple Seeds is a pure masterpiece. Germany has had a triumph with the debut of this unknown author last year.

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Beyond the Book

A Taste of Northern Germany

Map of Lower SaxonyKatharina Hagena has set The Taste of Apple Seeds in a rural corner of northwest Germany, in the fictional farming village of Bootshaven. Geographical clues in the novel place Bootshaven in the state of Lower Saxony, in the North German plain region south of Hamburg and north of Bremen. It's a terrain not unlike the low-lying plains of neighboring Holland. The land is flat and fertile, with sand beneath a layer of peaty loam. Hagena calls it a "rain-soaked" place, full of rivers, lakes, canals, locks, and millponds.

Windmill of Jork BorstelbyThe architectural heritage of the region includes a smattering of Dutch-style windmills, one of which makes it into the book as a museum. The historic farmhouses of the region are lovely to look at and have a long ...

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