An hour outside Paris. a train comes to an unscheduled stop. As the other passengers bicker,confide, flirt, the narrator remembers – lovers, disappointments, childhood, marriage. She talks with Chopin and models for Modigliani. The boundaries of self are dissolved by imagination and memory, until the journey resumes and another life ends.
One hopes, one hunts, for a book that resembles nothing one has read before. Alba Arikha’s Soon is not only a true original, it’s beautiful, moving, and, yes, profound. Which makes it a rare creature indeed.
Soon has the freshness of an eye-witness report and yet travels in many directions – in time and space, by train and by memory, by image and by imagination. A beautiful achievement.
Lucid, tender and hypnotic, Alba Arikha's "Soon" has echoes of Anne Michaels, and also of a more ancient, oral tradition, but the voice is, in the end, all her own, as she patrols the borders between experience and imagination. This is a beautiful book, all the more rich for being spare, a book to pick up again and again, as one might pick up a smooth, polished stone, for its satisfactions and its mysteries.
2013 must-reads: no year would be complete without poetry. Alba Arikha’s Soon (CB Editions, £6.99) has echoes of Anne Michaels and also of a more ancient oral tradition.full review
Multum in parvo: so musical; such darting observation and tender understanding; such rich seams of memory and imagination. Above all, such awareness of our need to connect, such sheer openness to the joy and pain of being fully alive.
Remembering Beckett, 1970full review
The most successful aspect of this piece was the way in which it entwined musical and textual narrative so seamlessly. At times Tom Smail's score adopted a word-painting technique; at others it simply provided an atmospheric, reflective mood for this poetic "journey of discovery"full review