Saturday, April 26, 2014

Book Review: Swans Are Fat Too by Michelle Granas

Swans Are Fat Too
Swans Are Fat Too
by Michelle Granas

Natalia Lanska, formidable Polish pianist, is dead. No one is really sorrowing, except maybe her granddaughter Hania, whose own career as a concert artist never took off due to a terrible weight problem. Feeling unwanted, Hania arrives in Warsaw for the funeral hoping for a warm welcome from her relatives. Instead, they saddle her with their appalling children, decamp, and refuse to return. Hania’s situation is at first improved and then complicated when a neighbor ─ the very correct, very austere descendant of an old Polish family ─ asks her to proofread an amateur history project. Hania sets to work with a will, and Pan Doctor Prince Konstanty Radzimoyski is surprised when his ideas get more editing than he bargained for. Typing pages of the past, rediscovering her native city, and playing the piano all contribute to taking Hania’s mind off her problems, but can’t change her awareness that the children need help and that her growing attachment to her employer will only give her pain. The summer Hania spends between love, hostility, and the weight of history tests her resourcefulness, but her fresh ideas and readiness to carry on brighten the lives of her new acquaintances. Still, no one, least of all Hania herself, expects that her beautiful qualities will make Konstanty forget her figure and other excess baggage.

This book contains a history of Poland in a nutshell and is about seeing beyond the conventions.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

  I first saw this book listed on Goodreads First Reads and the title instantly caught my eye. I saw it had no reviews, but the blurb was just as attractive as the title, so I went over to Amazon and surprise, surprise! It only cost U$ 1.00! What. A. Gem. It left me with a couple of tears in my eyes after the last chapter, which I was reluctant to finish, simply because I felt that I had not had enough of Hania. What a lovely book! A real find from a new author. So very well written and engaging! The characters were incredibly well portrayed, very realistic in their flaws and strong emotions. 
Even the pieces of history were interesting. There aren't many big/fat/obese/overweight characters in books out there, especially NOT as the heroine, so it was very intriguing/bittersweet to read about a realistic woman and the way society treated her. I have to admit that I knew nothing about Poland before I read "Swans Are Fat Too", but what I do know is that those things Hania has to go through are not particular to that country. I felt like could really relate to her, to see the world as she saw it (I could never be as patient as she was, however. Those kids were terrible! LOL). 
As I had the pleasure of mentioning to Michelle Granas in a message here, I would love to read more about Hania and Konstanty! Maybe a short story with what happens after? LOL. ;P The girl realy needs to start playing the piano professionally again! I am also quite curious whether her relationship with her father will improve and know more about the future of the children, as well as of the baby.
I'm certain that in no time more readers will come to her with these same wishes! Without a doubt, the best contemporary I've read in a long time! Here's hoping I win the giveaway, because I'd love to revisit it again. ;D