It's exciting to see my book set in Lithuania getting some attention from a newspaper in the Baltic region. The Baltic Times is an English-language paper based in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, with offices in Riga, Latvia, and Vilnius, Lithuania. They've just run a terrific review by Jonathan Brown of Love Songs of the Revolution. Brown is an Irish journalist based in Nablus who writes about Palestine and the Baltics. He's also a periodic editor at The Baltic Times.
Brown read the book through the lens of its historical and political context, which is what sets his review apart. A pivotal event in the novel is the massive Baltic Way demonstration that took place on August 23, 1989. Few people outside of the region are familiar with the demonstration and its historical importance. Brown describes it this way:
"The Baltic Way triumphed because a multitude of voices became one. United by song, hands, and political ambition, the Baltics formed an immutable force for peace and independence."
He calls the book a "Soviet whodunit," and writes about how, at the end of the Cold War, the West viewed and even exoticized the East:
"What compelled journalists in droves to the Baltic States and Eastern Europe after independence and the fall of the Soviet Union? Certainly, there was a voyeuristic allure in lifting the veil or 'curtain.' Mostly though, wasn’t it about seeing a world where the West’s political morals were turned upside down? Wasn’t it about seeing a world where corruption goes unchecked, the bad guys don’t go to jail, and the good guys lose out? It’s exactly this political climate that Mauldin coolly and impressively puts on display in 'Love Songs.'"
While covering the politics, Brown also gets to the poetics. What more can an author hope for from any reader?
"Entanglements aside, the mystery slides sleekly from one suspense, emotional pang, or clue to another, ensuring impeccable timing and delivery. In this, Mauldin’s prose and poise equals that of the highest calibre mystery writing. The book calls to be picked up, even if it’s put down. Poetic gems glitter throughout. Mauldin is sensitive to detail and nuance, her prose is always vivid and alive."
Lately I've been making zines. For a limited time, you can see my first zine on exhibit at the Irvine Fine Arts Center. Read more.