The Taste of Apple Seeds

By Katharina hagena
Published on Feb 4th, 2014
Published by
William Morrow & Company
Source:blog tour
When Iris unexpectedly inherits her grandmother's house in the country, she also inherits the painful memories that live there.

Iris gives herself a one-week stay at the old house, after which she'll make a decision: keep it, or sell it. The choice is not so simple, though, for her grandmother's cottage is an enchanting place where currant jam tastes of tears, sparks fly from fingertips, love's embrace makes apple trees blossom, and the darkest family secrets never stay buried.

As Iris moves in and out of the flicker between remembrance and forgetting, she chances upon a forgotten childhood friend who could become more.

The Taste of Apple Seeds is a bittersweet story of heartbreak and hope passed down through the generations.

I think I liked this book.

To start out with, this book is not for kids.  That is not to say there is anything too graphic, it is just written more towards an adult mindset.  There is some love making (not sex, if you catch my meaning), and there are some affairs...  but they are told as just a matter of what happened in the lives of the family members, not as descriptive scenes.  

What is abundantly clear in the first few pages of the book is that this is a translation.  Okay, I admit, it does say it is translated in the front...  but when you start reading it, something feels a off.  I had a good deal of trouble figuring out how old the main character, Iris, is.  Turns out she is 27, which you find out close to the end of the book.  Given that I am 32, I have a pretty good memory of what I was like 5 years ago, and it was not this.  During most of the book I wondered if Iris was older or the book was written in an earlier time period.  However, her grandfather lived through WWI and WWII, so very clearly this is now.  The author is German, but I did not think the culture was so different there that I would be this confused.  I think this is what I disliked most about the book.

Aside from the time frame, the book reminded me of One Hundred Years of Solitude.  I actually did not enjoy that book at all because the names were so utterly confusing.  This book was much less confusing, but if you choose to read it, you must push past the first chapter.  I think it is intentionally cluttered with people you do not yet know so that the author can use flashbacks and stories to uncover their natures.

Overall, I got interested in the family members and I liked the unearthing of their pasts.  The story has just the right mix of family history told with a bit of mystical lore.  I think every family has those magical stories that just seem a bit too fantastic to be really true, yet they are.  Every family has someone who is a little off.  Every family has secrets and affairs and surprises.  I think Hagena told everything quite well.  The stories themselves are not quite complete and they leave you wondering, just like your own family.

As I started out this post with, I think I liked this book.  I have read a few other reviews, and it is right what they say...  the stories do not always tie together, there is some obvious symbolism, etc. but I still enjoyed it, and it was a nice change of pace from teen lit.

I would not say this is a must read, but it was decent.  :)

~ Ericka

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