I started this one as well as Hekla’s Children in a conscious effort to read more books published by independent presses. I chose Urbane Press this month as The Gift Maker caught my eye. And I’m so glad it did! It proved to be a disturbing, and yet, beautiful story. It reminded me very much of Bulgakov’s, The Master and the Margarita, with its surreal nature, as well as its Eastern European-esque setting (the characters venture to a town called Grenze, which translates to “Border”).
At the very beginning, one of the MCs, Thomas receives the mysterious box. I enjoyed gradually getting to know Thomas and his fellow philosophy students – their jokes and banter easing us into the story. It isn’t until we meet Liselotte, the other MC that the story starts to get surreal and magical, but it’s worth the wait. I loved following her on her quest to understand her gift and watching as the world around her becomes more warped and disturbing.
There is so much to contemplate in this book – there is a depth of soul in this book that is such a rarity. I think some of the quotes I marked will sum up the particular beauty of its pages and its writer:
“The gift will find the receiver, whether he wishes it or not, for it is part of him and cannot be denied.”
“We look for the pure, if hidden, desire. The love of the love for its own sake, not for gross gain. A rare thing in this and other worlds.”
I don’t want to give too much away, but there are layers upon layers of meaning and influence in this book. One moment you think of The Master and Margarita, especially with the theatre scenes and then there’s hints of Dr Faustus and questions about one’s ambitions in life and their impact on the soul.
This book has stayed with me the last week – and I will definitely be buying a paperback copy so that I can revisit it again when the images and ideas fade.