Tasting Sunlight by Ewald Arenz

Teenager Sally has just run away from a clinic where she to be treated for anorexia. She’s furious with everything and everyone, and wants to be left in peace.

Liss is in her forties, living alone on a large farm that she runs single-handedly. She has little contact with the outside world, and no need for other people.

From their first meeting, Sally realises that Liss isn’t like other adults; she expects nothing of Sally and simply accepts who she is, offering her a bed for the night with no questions asked.

That night becomes weeks and then months, as an unlikely friendship develops and these two damaged women slowly open up – connecting to each other, reconnecting with themselves, and facing the darkness in their pasts  through their shared work on the land.

Achingly beautiful, profound, invigorating and uplifting, Tasting Sunlight is a story of friendship across generations, of love and acceptance, of the power of nature to heal and transform, and the goodness that surrounds us, if only we take time to see it…


Some reviews write themselves simply because the book is such utter perfection, that you could wax lyrical for hours and hours. Tasting Sunlight is one of those novels, described on the publishers website as achingly beautiful and uplifting, it is this and more, that makes it one of my all time favorite reads!

Why? Because it is about friendship, love, new beginning’s and how when we take a step away from the perceptions others have of us, we can truly find ourselves. It’s a story about two women, pretty unique even in 2022, who find healing from simple companionship, from a non judgmental benevolence and a deep rooted need to find a place of acceptance.

The writing and the story are deceptively uncomplicated, simply because the language is not about the big events. It is about the stories of these two women, one young and deeply troubled and an older women, whose own trauma, though different, has its roots in the same cause, the cloying expectations and judgements of others. As much as it is about the pain that dominates their lives when they meet, it is also a perceptive tale about all the things that connect us and them. As Ray Bradbury writes in Fahrenheit 451 of how friendship forms, as drop by drop, the moments of allowing the other to exist, breath, grow, a series of kind acts, of letting each be, connects them, creating an understanding that will last a lifetime. This is what makes this story so very special, so utterly perfect, the quiet moments, that explore why these two women make an unbreakable connection across the abys of the past traumas of their lives.

The writer Ewald Arenz real gift is his ability to trust his characters to tell a story. Sally and Lis are both complex character’s, whose resilience and strength made me love them deeply. Neither fit into society and both have paid a high price personally because of this. Each offers the other a chance to heal and find peace, through a connection to the land around them and the painful dissolution of relationships that have come to blight their lives. The writer telling it is such a way, that I felt an intense connection to the redemptive nature of both their journeys. To what would hopefully be a better life for both.

He made me care about both women and allowed me as a reader an intimate glimpse into their lives. Friendship is born out of shared moments as well as trust and this novel abounds with both.

It is a story that should grace everyone’s bookshelves.

You can buy this novel directly from the publisher Orenda Books.

From Waterstones and Amazon

About the author

Ewald Arenz, born in Nürnberg in 1965, studied English and American literature and history. He is a teacher at a secondary school in Nürnberg. His novels and plays have received many awards. Ewald lives near Fürth with his family.

About the translator

Rachel Ward is a freelance translator of literary and creative texts from German and French to English. Having always been an avid reader and enjoyed word games and puzzles, she discovered a flair for languages at school and went on to study modern languages at the University of East Anglia. She spent the third year working as a language assistant at two grammar schools in Saaebrücken, Germany. During her final year, she realised that she wanted to put these skills and passions to use professionally and applied for UEA’s MA in Literary Translation, which she completed in 2002. Her published translations include Traitor by Gudrun Pausewang and Red Rage by Brigitte Blobel, and she is a member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting.
Follow Rachel on Twitter @FwdTranslations, on her blog http://www.adiscounttickettoeverywhere.wordpress.com and on her website http://www.forwardtranslations.co.uk


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