Getting a Boxwalla subscription is the best way to discover artists and artisans from all over the world for $49.95 every two months. There are four boxes to choose from the Green Beauty Box, Book Box, Food Box and Film box. I went for Boxwalla Book (always for the books) since it gives an opportunity to really branch out and learn about the world. I sometimes forget there is more out there than just my backyard.
A short letter asking people to stay connected via social media but more importantly a quick glimpse into the each of the featured writers.
Gate of the Sun by Elias Khoury ($31.76)
Gate of the Sun is the first magnum opus of the Palestinian saga. After their country is torn apart in 1948, two men remain alone in a deserted makeshift hospital in the Shatila camp on the outskirts of Beirut. We enter a vast world of displacement, fear, and tenuous hope. Khalil holds vigil at the bedside of his patient and spiritual father, a storied leader of the Palestinian resistance who has slipped into a coma. As Khalil attempts to revive Yunes, he begins a story, which branches into many. Stories of the people expelled from their villages in Galilee, of the massacres that followed, of the extraordinary inner strength of those who survived, and of love. Khalil—like Elias Khoury—is a truth collector, trying to make sense of the fragments and various versions of stories that have been told to him. His voice is intimate and direct, his memories are vivid, his humanity radiates from every page. Khalil lets his mind wander through time, from village to village, from one astonishing soul to another, and takes us with him. Gate of the Sun is a Palestinian Odyssey. Beautifully weaving together haunting stories of survival and loss, love and devastation, memory and dream, Khoury humanizes the complex Palestinian struggle as he brings to life the story of an entire people.
This was like the gift that keeps giving because there was another small box inside the bigger box..with more books. I have to say that I will be stashing this box away for gift giving as it is strong and super sturdy. The box itself is sort of like a luxe cotton rag paper covered box handcrafted by artisans in Rajasthan, India (none of whom are children). The outside indicates which box you received.
A child who will be named Johannes is born. An old man named Johannes dies. Between these two points, Jon Fosse gives us the details of an entire life, starkly compressed. Beginning with Johannes’s father’s thoughts as his wife goes into labor, and ending with Johannes’s own thoughts as he embarks upon a day in his life when everything is exactly the same, yet totally different, Morning and Evening is a novel concerning the beautiful dream that our lives have meaning.
I began reading this book as it was the smallest of the three but it completely threw me off that there are no sentences just a string of commas and oddly placed question marks. The translation is simple and it flows so well that I had a difficult time putting it down.
Critically acclaimed experimental, literary fiction by the famous Croatian exile author.
The Museum of Unconditional Surrender―by the renowned Yugoslavian writer Dubravka Ugresic―begins in the Berlin Zoo, with the contents of Roland the Walrus’s stomach displayed beside his pool (Roland died in August, 1961). These objects―a cigarette lighter, lollipop sticks, a beer-bottle opener, etc.―like the fictional pieces of the novel itself, are seemingly random at first, but eventually coalesce, meaningfully and poetically.
Written in a variety of literary forms, The Museum of Unconditional Surrender captures the shattered world of a life in exile. Some chapters re-create the daily journal of the narrator’s lonely and alienated mother, who shops at the improvised flea-markets in town and longs for her children; another is a dream-like narrative in which a circle of women friends are visited by an angel. There are reflections and accounts of the Holocaust and the Yugoslav Civil War; portraits of European artists; a recipe for Caraway Soup; a moving story of a romantic encounter the narrator has in Lisbon; descriptions of family photographs; memories of the small town in which Ugresic was raised.
Addressing the themes of art and history, aging and loss, The Museum is a haunting and an extremely original novel. In the words of the Times Literary Supplement, “it is vivid in its denunciation of destructive forces and in its evocation of what is at stake.”
I’m so pleased with the book choices in this box mostly because I normally gravitate to murder mysteries or some kind of thriller and now I’m looking forward to something new.
The Description: The first series of book boxes this year, will focus on great, living writers from all over the world. All of them are must-read but not as widely read as they deserve to be. All of them are also prospective Nobel Laureates. But we don’t want to wait till they win. We want to (and want you to) read them now!
The Price: $49.99 every other month