Just a quick note to say the English tour was wonderful; I loved the Watermill, a crisp clear day where we saw swans and other waterbirds.  The venue itself was beautiful.  Everywhere I went I found an interesting place and people, but I’ll write more when I’m back in Chicago.  Right now I’m in Crimea, with my cousin who’s a Peace Corps volunteer.  We spent the day hiking in an old cave city that dates back 1400 years, used successively by Mongol invaders, Jews, and Crimean Tatars.  I’ll write more when I get home, and post pictures then as well.  The people are lovely but there’s no money here for infrastructure; everyone builds their own houses out of local rock, so it looks as the American West must have done in the 1850’s–mud roads, everything in partial construction.  It’s wonderful to see my cousin, who’s working in a library with Crimean Tatars–and learning Russian–a daunting language.

  • Sara-
    Wonderful photo! I am looking forward to more.

    I just finished Hardball and was just blown away. LOVED the Marquette Park history, a fascinating and horrifying piece of our city’s past. I love seeing your own past as a volunteer in that era coming out. I am trying to talk my husband into reading it next.

    I’ve also decided to read the V.I. stories again from the beginning, while I’m waiting for the new book (yae, Petra’s back!!) Just wanted to drop you a line. Keep up the great work!

  • genny from jersey

    Sara, what an incredible trip you’ve been having. It’s wonderful that you’ve been able to spend some time with your cousin. She’s doing good work!

  • Looking forward to seeing pictures and hearing stories about your trip – it sounds like it’s been great!
    Kudos to your cousin for her work in Crimea. The world could use more people like her!

  • Have a good time! Seeing family is important.

  • Paula Sharratt

    Hi Sarah

    I, too, have just finished reading Hardball. I’m an avid reader of contemporary fiction (have you read Stieg Larrsson?)and the way writers like you are taking all the possibilities: essay, autobiography, polemic and making their own of them between the covers. And it rings true to me in Britain, your characters are real and crochetty and passionate and nearly always socially wronged in their searching. In much fiction characters fly above the plotted reality but here VI ‘fumes’, eats when she is hungry and she is alone neccessarily and unneccessarily.

    What I love is the generosity of vision you have of american people, you explain what it’s like in the mundane reality of struggling to survive and the extraordinary openeness of people in a society you feel as a reader everyone knows is corrupt, violent, fetid, yet extraordinarily creative and beautiful. I feel you are always on the verge of the great american novel but wouldn’t want it any other way, if that makes sense!
    Thank you very much indeed!!!

  • Penny Thornton

    What a great photo, Sara! For various reasons, I’ve only just got a copy of Hardball. Very much looking forward to reading it.

  • JN Grant

    Wish your cousin good luck with the Russian. I taught the language for several years and used to be married to a Russian. However daunting it may be, Crimean looks to me like it would be harder. Does anyone there at the library speak it? From what I understand, the majority now speak only Russian.

  • Most of the older Crimean Tatars still speak the language–they carried it with them into exile. I met a Fulbright scholar who is studying the schools in Crimea which are conducted in Crimean Tatar. I have no idea how difficult a language it is–it’s closely allied to Turkish if that puts it into context. The Crimean Tatars I met can understand Turkish and most of them speak it as their third language, after Russian and Crimean Tatar. Some also speak Ukrainian.
    Rachel, Paula–thank you for your most generous response to Hardball.


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