This impressive second novel from Katarina West is a love story - like no other I've read. Absolute Truth, For Beginners explores the overwhelming depths of one-sided, unconditional love - between a young girl and an older woman. You feel like shouting at our besotted heroine, Elisa, as she descends into a relationship which will surely end in tears.
The enigmatic central figure of Judith Shapiro rules her academic foundation like a queen bee, tended by her drones, with the entire hive dependent on her. Elisa is almost Judith’s opposite in every way, a battered Fiat to Judith’s pristine Maserati. She is on a ‘journey’ – but it’s a roller-coaster ride, with no stopping or turning back once it has begun.
What makes this book stand out is the engaging, confessional honesty of Katerina’s writing, and the way Elisa’s world is filled with flawed characters you will surely recognise. The weak-willed men fare rather badly, although this is more than compensated for by the resilience of the women. I hope Katarina might consider writing a sequel, as I want to know what became of Elisa Mancini.
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About the Author
Katarina West is the author of Witchcraft Couture, her debut novel. She was born in Helsinki, Finland, into a bilingual family that in addition to humans consisted of dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs, canaries, rabbits and – thanks to her biology teacher mother – stuffed owls and squirrels. She spent time travelling in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and went on to study at Queen Mary and Westfield College in London and the European University Institute in Florence, where she completed a PhD in political science and published a book based on it, Agents of Altruism. During those student years she started work as a journalist, and continued writing for various Finnish magazines and newspapers for over ten years, writing on various topics from current events and humanitarian issues to celebrity interviews and short stories. She also briefly worked as a university lecturer on humanitarian issues in Northern Italy. Katarina lives in an old farmhouse in Chianti with her husband and son and when not writing, she is fully immersed in Tuscan country life, from jam-making and olive-picking to tractor maintenance. Find out more at her website and follow Katarina on Facebook and Twitter @WestKatarina.