Marie Washtag

Review and Critics

REVIEW from AIMEE ANN for the novel "AN UNEXPECTED MESS" by MARIE WASHTAG (5/5 stars)

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Contemporary life in a modern country drives cruel existential conditions and violence against people. This is a story about human solidarity in an unknown environment, about people and their faith. “Marta is sitting down and looking…” So begins “An Unexpected Mess” written by the TALENTED and WELL-ACCOMPLISHED author that is MARIE WASHTAG. Washtag’s latest novel is a hard-hitting, poignant, moving piece of contemporary fiction that will move Its readers. Its incredible story which is focused on harsh realities that occur will make the reader feel a host of different emotions. Contemporary fiction is an incredible genre for me, because most of these books examine the world today through a fictional character and MARIE WASHTAG has PERFECTLY DONE just this with her novel: AN UNEXPECTED MESS. “An Unexpected Mess” is a moving piece of literature that is hard hitting at times, but also crucial to read. It explores the life of Marta and her journey (as well as a few more characters journeys). In the modern world and to overcome adversity. Violence dominates the world, it is around every corner, and even though the events that happen within this GENIUS NOVEL are enough to break the human solidarity conquess and rises. The PREMISE of novel “An Unexpected Mess” is just this, but please know book lovers that a host of other things occurs and when it does it is incredibly entertaining that will keep you turning the pages into the early hours of the morning! MARIE WASHTAG is an INCREDIBLE AUTHOR whose first two books look just as BRILLIANT as this one. I admit I have not read the first two book written by her, but I am desperate to now after this exceptional book of hers! I mention her two books because when I read the descritions of both, they are both very different and different from the tone of “An Unexpected Mess”. This confims that MARIE WASHTAG is a TALENTED, VERSATILE AUTHOR who know how to write great stories that appeal to many different readers. Her perfect book will move you as a reader and will make you think about the world and the hars realities that occur as well as what you can do to change this. Overall “An Unexpected Mess” is a beautifully written, flawless novel that will take its readers on a journey of emotions and so I have no choice but to award AN UNEXPECTED MESS a dazzling ***** FIVE STARS! So please book lovers, read this flawless book and be lost in its poiqnant story. I promise you will not be disappointed!

Official Review: An Unexpected Mess by Marie Washtag (3/4 stars)

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An Unexpected Mess by Marie Washtag comes under the genre of other fiction. This story deals with the themes of war refugees, slavery, and human trafficking. Marta had grown up in Serbia but fled to Hungary when the war broke out and now was trying to establish a new life in Spain. She became a pawn in the hands of individuals who took advantage of her to enrich themselves. Marta left her home country when war broke out and found work in Spain. She saw her life as a blank, white page that she wanted to fill with beautiful experiences. Her ability to speak several languages helped her land a job with a tourist company. She met Attila, who fell in love with her and won her heart. They began planning their wedding. Her husband and his friend, Pedro, were planning to film the consumption of the marriage and sell the photos for a large payment. Before these plans could be carried out, several men broke into the room and kidnapped Marta. They transported her to another city, and we read about her life as a captive with no documents and unable to speak the language. Is there any hope for Marta or is she doomed to a life of slavery? Is there any way out of this prison? I especially enjoyed the author's portrayal and development of Marta. Her love of life, enjoyment of freedom, and happy disposition set the tone for a contented lifestyle. I fell in love with Marta and the joy she expressed in the simple pleasures of life. This created a contrast with the horror she experienced when she became the target of the evil plans of her ruthless acquaintances. The setting of the story is Spain. The primary tourist attractions of San Sebastian, Malaga, Barcelona, Granada, and Madrid fill the pages of the book, carrying the reader to the cultural and historical sites of each city. The author's beautiful descriptions inspired me to research many of the places mentioned. I struggled with the lack of quotation marks to indicate speech as this created confusion during lengthier discussions. The numerous spelling and punctuation errors also slowed the reading flow. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. This story keeps the reader engaged with its captivating story line that contemplates the precarious situation of refugees. Marta's experience evoked a wide range of emotions that kept me riveted to the story until the dramatic end. I deducted one star for the reasons mentioned above. Readers who enjoy psychological thrillers and suspense novels will breeze through this short novel of only 115 pages. There are a few scenes of a sexual nature that would be inappropriate for younger or sensitive readers.

Official Review: Lilly Among Clouds by Marie Washtag (2/4 stars)

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Lilly Among Clouds by Marie Washtag is contemporary fiction that has been translated from Serbian to English. It follows the life experiences of Lilly and Sasha, as they have interactions together and interact with their friends in Budapest. This slice of life book doesn't pull any punches, so read this with caution as it can get a bit gritty and uncomfortable at times. If you are interested in the life experiences of Lilly and Sasha as she and he make certain choices that affect them for better or worse, proceed but tread lightly. I enjoyed the characterization of Lilly and Sasha as it can be seen that they are good friends. They do a lot of talking about the past and how it has affected them up to that point. Both them and the secondary characters are given fairly complicated backstories, but you have to infer from the conversations that are held. There are also foreign words, with definitions that are provided to make the reading much more smooth. The first thing to note is that Lilly Among Clouds has a lot of mistakes, but it seems to be in regards to the translation from the author's native language to English at a lot of points. Some errors include using Lilli versus Lilly and Eve versus Eva or using punctuation that would be used in the Serbian language. Other errors include the misuse of ellipses and not using quotation marks. At times I had a really tough time discerning who was talking when, so I highlighted every spoken sentence for myself and denoted who was talking and made a note to add quotations to the best of my ability. Viewing the formatting of this book was a bit difficult. There wasn't a notable end or beginning to each chapter, considering the fact that there were no chapters. Everything was written down, and there were odd moments where a sentence would break off and continue on the next page in the Kindle version. This also made reading difficult, especially with the addition of superscripts for unfamiliar terms. Preferably, their definitions should have been placed at the back of the book in a glossary to neaten up the formatting. However, they were placed in odd spots. Some warnings to include would be that this contains drug use, murder, sex, rape, and PTSD. If these types of issues make you uncomfortable, then avoid Lilly Among Clouds, as these are spread throughout this book. Another thing is that this book clearly needs more proofreading before being a fully finished product. I would be interested in reading the source material and the other translated texts to see if more issues with formatting exist, but unfortunately, I am only fluent in English. It with these considerations that Lilly Among Clouds receives 2 out of 4 stars from me. I had to take off one star for the errors and one star for the formatting issues. Perhaps with several more rounds of editing this book would be a more concise read. Unfortunately, in its current incarnation, it seems like it wasn’t even edited once.

Official Review: A Cossack's House by Marie Washtag (2/4 stars)

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In A Cossack's House, written by Marie Washtag, readers follow the adventurous travels of a passionate woman named Diana. The novel, narrated in the first person, revolves around two long summer trips she made from her home country, Yugoslavia, to Russia, where her grandma moved after marrying a Russian Cossack named Klym. On the first trip, Diana was a divorced twenty-eight-year-old without kids. During her month-long stay, she has a great time and falls in love with Anatoly, who proposes marriage. Diana needed more time and went back home because her visa was about to expire. Although she promises to return soon, she only comes back ten years later, after her grandma passed and left her the house. On the second journey, she meets Tamara, a Russian woman who lived in Germany, and they become friends. Tamara helps Diana tackle a conspiracy to take the inherited house away, and the plot thickens. The descriptions of Diana’s travels, notably her train journeys, had an almost poetic quality. Ethnic, linguistic, and territorial identities and boundaries are underlying aspects of the plot; this is what I enjoyed the most. On a train with her mother, for instance, they come across “a patchwork of Russian, Armenian, Kyrgyzstani, Azerbaijani, Mongolian, Tatar, Arabian... faces.” German, Hungarian, and Russian words often get quoted as Diana struggles to communicate with the other characters. Her poor command of the Russian language results in several difficulties in her friendships and romances, as well as in solving the inherited house situation. On the other hand, there were numerous formatting errors in the Kindle edition. Some quotes were weirdly spaced, with one letter per line. Since some of these quotes resembled poems, it could be intentional, though. Other parts also were written oddly, with long sequences of sentences with little to no punctuation. Part of this could be intentional, too, for these instances usually regard Diana’s dreams or stream of consciousness. However, the editing issues went beyond that, for there were also many spelling and grammatical errors. It seemed to me that the book’s translation could have been better. Some sentences were difficult to understand, detracting from the text’s readability and making the plot a bit confusing. These shortcomings were what I disliked the most. Unfortunately, due to the deficient editing and confusing plot, which I believe are interconnected, I rate A Cossack's House 2 out of 4 stars. It’s a pity, though, for the author has a great story to tell, and I’m guessing the book is much better in its original language; translations are tricky. Still, if you’re willing to overlook these shortcomings and enjoy stream-of-consciousness novels, it is an option worth considering. It might also appeal to readers interested in the history and geopolitics of the Slavic people.

Official Review: A Cossack's House by Marie Washta (2/4 stars)

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A Cossack's House is “a psychological drama thriller” from the Other Fiction genre. The amorphous architecture of the writing echoes a confusing tale. Marie Washtag, the author, is a Serbian writer who reflects in her work the interhuman connections between foreigners and locals in Russia, situated in the land of the Cossacks. Diana, the main character, is a young Serbian woman in her 20s who spends a vacation in Russia, at the home of Giza, her widowed grandmother. Giza was married to a Cossack and her house was located in the Don Cossack’s region, near the Don River. This is where she meets Anatoly, a neighbour from across the street, with whom she begins a romance. She is forced to return to her native country when her visa expires, but they promise each other that they will find a way to be together. She returns 10 years later, after her grandmother’s demise, to claim the house that she has been left to her as an inheritance. Thus, Diana found herself all alone among strangers, with no knowledge of the Russian language, and surrounded by people who conspire against her, all trying to get their hands on the most coveted house in that region. She was considered an outsider – this is the main reason why she encounters difficulties in legalizing the inherence documents. But, what happened to Anatoly? To their love? Did he wait for her? Does Diana manage to make friends among the Russian people? Will she, a foreigner and a Cossack’s heiress, win the fight with Russian bureaucracy? The book was translated from Serbian to English, but in an ad-litteram mode. With due respect, I suggest that the author accompany her work with professional editing. Without an elementary introduction or a brief portrayal of the characters, the reading experience became entangled and constantly baffling. I read the .doc version, which hampered the experience and kept it from being relaxed and cordial, due to the small font and the unnumbered pages (I couldn’t bookmark where to pick up reading whenever I stopped). Dividing the book into chapters might also help. The book's lack of structural organization gave me the impression of being the electronic diary of an aspirant lady who writes down her unfiltered thoughts. The premise of the book is sui generis, and in spite of its potential, all the grammar and punctuation errors (on nearly every page), the misspelling, the lack of any coherent structure to the content, the constant feeling of not knowing who, when, or how, and the fog that filled my head left me flabbergasted, and I could only give the book 2 out of 4 stars. However, I’m thankful that this story has driven me into doing more thorough research of the Cossacks’ history and culture, and it has made me feel richer than I was yesterday. I would recommend A Cossack's House to those readers who are willing to ignore the bumpy editorial style and enjoy a mixture of a love story, a look at the moral nature of people in realistic situations, and a coeval story of the Cossack region of Russia.

Official Review: Cossack's House by Marie Washtag (2/4 stars)

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A Cossack's house by Marie Washtag was originally written in Serbian but was translated into English by Milica Kostic. The story was written in a time of war and centers around Diana, a Yugoslavian. She was a divorcee at the age of twenty-eight with no children. Diana and her mum went to Russia to visit her grandmother fondly called Babushka who married a Cossack. There, she met Anatoly, also known as Tolik, and started an affair with him against her better judgment because Tolik was known to be a womanizer and a drunk. To her amazement, Tolik proposed to her and asked her to stay but she didn't give him a reply. Time passed and she and her mum had to go back home because their visa was about to expire. She told Tolik she would come back and Tolik could come to visit. However, that didn't happen until 10 years later. Babushka, not having kids of her own, died and left Diana her house so she had to travel back to Russia to claim her inheritance. Valya, Tolik's mum arranged for her to come back and rallied to get the necessary papers ready for her to append her signature and possess her house. Unknown to her, Valya had other evil plans. Journeying to a foreign country on her own where she barely understood the language, will she be able to claim what is rightfully hers? Will she make it out alive? Will her love still be waiting for her? Marie Washtag did a good job with the storyline. I think it's pretty unique and could go far. I liked Tamara, Diana's friend, the most. She was like an angel in disguise. Being a Russian and also able to speak Serbian, Diana's language, she helped Diana out of dire situations. She was Diana's lucky charm. To think Diana didn't want to have anything to do with her when they first met. What I liked least about the book was its lack of editing. I feel the book wasn't edited at all. The errors are overwhelming. There are errors in almost every page. At a point, I got tired of counting. I guess the translator did a direct translation most of the time. The book also lacks punctuations so most of the words were muddled up together. I think chapters/sections should be put in the book as it lacked it. Also, between page 110 and 111, it's obvious there is a missing piece because Diana was swimming alone at the end of page 110 and suddenly at the beginning of page 111 she was having a full-blown conversation with Tamara. I believe an epilogue should be tying loose ends about the characters in a book. The epilogue in this book was talking about the history of the Cossack people! For all the above reasons, I rate this book a 2 out of 4 stars. The errors were terribly distracting. The writer needs to let this book go through professional hands for editing. I recommend this book to romance lovers. It has no sexual scenes but promises to be an enjoyable read after proper editing has been done of course!