Writer: Maria Turtschaninoff
Release date: 05/01/2017 (paperback)
Publisher: Pushkin Press
“She does not know how to feel safe.” As I said it I knew it was true. “We will have to teach her how.”
This book was sent to me by the publisher. This does not affect my judgement in any way.
The story is about the Red Abbey, an island which is also a sanctuary for women of all ages throughout the lands that are looking for a safe place. The main character in this is Maresi, the oldest novice on the island. She tells us the story of the arrival of Jai on the island from the beginning. Jai’s arrival brings some serious consequences for the women on the island and there self-made society where men are not allowed.
The way the story is being told in first-person perspective by Maresi feels really personal. Like you want to hug them when something makes them upset and want to their chores with them when they are tired. In the beginning, Maresi is an innocent girl with a huge love of knowledge she doesn’t particularly like to share with others. Throughout the book she develops and becomes a woman who puts others in first place and wants to do good with her acquired knowledge. This is beautiful to see.
Another thing I really loved about this book is the friendship amongst the women on the island. Especially the friendship between Maresi and Jai. There is such great and wonderful development in their friendship.
The only thing I didn’t particularly enjoyed is that men are painted as the bad guys in this story. I don’t necessarily see it as a good thing to just (indirectly) state that “all men are bad”. There is a rape scene that’s being strongly suggested in the book and there are also other triggers that basically all come down to violence against women done by men. Be aware of this. Luckily Maresi herself had good experience with her father and brother.
I guess this is the kind of book that either doesn’t have an impact on you at all, or a lot. The latter in my case. It is branded as feminist literature, which I would like to read more of after this book as I feel there’s so much to explore. But I think Maresi has been a good book to start with.
Maresi to me is the kind of book that should be obligatory literature. It is such an empowering and beautiful story about women and their strength. A serious must read.