Disclaimer: This book was provided for me free of charge via netgally in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis (from Amazon)
Bianca Lakoseljac’s debut novel, The Summer of the Dancing Bear is a mesmerising melange of love story and mystery, as young protagonist Kata explores the unfamiliar world of the gypsy tribe that has befriended her and embarks on a quest to discover the fate of a neighbour’s missing child. Memory and magic play their roles until the shocking denouement that reveals Kata’s own family secrets and forever alters her perceptions of life as she once knew it. Engaging and original, the novel fuses history, myth, and tradition in a whimsical literary voice that reminds us that the complex and innocent humanity in us is too often haunted by human tragedy.
This is Lakosljac’s first novel, released only this week, and I think she’s really going to be one to watch. I really thought that I could see into Kata’s mind and emotions. At times she had almost prophetic dreams and these were written really well to show Kata’s sense of urgency, fear, and confusion. Kata rarely knew exactly what her dreams meant except that they were important and the reader learns alongside her what the dreams may indicate. Sometimes is is confusing what is a dream and what is reality and this causes great confusion for the reader which seems to be reflected in Kata’s emotional state.
The further and further you read into the book the more dreams and reality seem to merge until you are convinced reality is just a dream…and Kata’s insistence that a dream is reality further confounds this. By the climax you are not sure what just happened, which makes the whole situation just the more scary.
The reader has to work hard towards the end to try and see what really happened, and, like Kata, they still come away with unanswered questions. In a way I didn’t like this because I wanted my questions to be answered however it did add an aspect of reality which sustained the reader’s connection with Kata. Plus you can imagine just anything you want could have happened next- whether in dream or reality!