I highly recommend Leila Samarrai’s novel “Sleeping Mathilde” for publication.
This work is inspired by gothic fiction and it possesses elements of horror as well as science fiction. Considering we know how popular and trendy both genres are with a subset of the general readership audience, regardless whether it’s foreign authors or domestic ones I believe that “Sleeping Mathilde” will also find its place in our publishing line. The last sentence was not based merely on the genre itself but also on the fact that Samarrai, who graduated from the Faculty of Philology, is well versed in literature and has also been present on our literary scene for a good while and in this piece, as in her previous works, the best of her qualities as a writer come to fruition: a vivid imagination, an original, somewhat baroque expression and authentic characters lead by their passions and their hatreds. All of the above constitutes the most important ingredients for a good novel.
This medieval intrigue, that can with its eeriness and multiple plotlines compare to George R. R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” is set in the Nordic Europe. The curse of an aristocratic house which, derelict as it is, reminds the reader of “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe, the shifting interests and master-vassal relations reminiscent of “cloak and dagger” drama, all of this gives a special flavor to this work of fiction which, fortunately, has a universal character therefore it need not necessarily take place in the North of Europe but anywhere where people believed (or still believe) in kings, mages, ghosts, and fantastic creatures.
Leila Samarrai is an author capable of transforming her expression, of moving between satire, humor and eeriness. This is a rare capability clearly illustrated in this novel which should not be retold but read. I would note one very interesting novel “The Adventures of Boris K.” (published by “Everest Media”) which, I hope, will see a reprint soon. This piece of satire, set in a dystopian state is, it seems, on the opposite side of the planet “Sleeping Mathilde” is on but it possesses the same trait – the quality of an author who is worth your attention.
dr Aleksandar Novaković, author and playwright
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