Skybound by Aleksandr Voinov
For some reason best known to myself, I resisted reading Aleksandr Voinov – despite the rave reviews, mainly I think because of his incredibly loyal fan base. In my imagination I found myself being vilified for writing something critical, despite it being posted on a blog that almost no one ever reads, and missing the obvious that of course I don’t have to actually write about anything if I don’t want to.
I cut my teeth on Gold digger, and then read Dark Soul. Two very different reads, at one stage I wondered if they were written collaboratively, as most writers have a degree of consistency that these books lacked (that’s a compliment). They weren’t
So hunting down his back catalogue I came across Skybound, slim at 28 pages, downloaded it and read it in a day. After finishing it I had to not read, took a day, or two off and did other things. Decided to write about it, thought that I wouldn’t, and then decided definitely that I wouldn’t because I wasn’t sure that I could do the book justice.
Via a peculiar series of events, a visit to England’s largest second hand bookshop, a twitter conversation and a drink in a music hall I came into possession of a paperback copy of Skybound and re read it.
Skybound is set at the end of the Second World War, in Germany, and concerns a pilot and a mechanic and is simply beautiful fiction. Despite being slight in length it condenses an incredible amount of emotion, plot and historical detail into its 28 pages.
Poetry for me is the distillation of language, and AV’s writing has a poetic grace about it, he uses language so beautifully, it’s hard to believe that English is not his mother tongue. Images are created that linger in the mind long after having read them, ‘a heart rattling like a badly maintained engine’ hasn’t everyone had that feeling ?
I could delve into the plot, but instead would say read it,if you haven’t already done so.
So, a song by one of my all time favourite bands, Junip, lyrically complements Sybound very well.