Endorsements, authenticity and why my books are worth reading.
With a small publisher, even one as discerning and capable as Claret Press, a writer struggles to be taken seriously. The endorsements my novels and memoir have received indicate that my books are worth reading.
Brushstrokes in Time has been endorsed by China experts including Frank Sieren. It has been translated into German by Drachenhaus Verlag as ‘Pinselstriche’.
John Gittings was the Guardian’s Chief Foreign correspondent and spent years in China and, in 1980, reviewed the official exhibition of the Stars artists, who inspired my novel. John told me he read it expecting, even intending, to find fault with it. Instead he has endorsed it.
‘Vetta is always accurate with a grasp of vivid detail.’
Oxford academic Dr Maria Jashok, who lived in China from 1980 to 1996, wrote the forward and respected journalist and film maker, Shrenik Rao the editor of the Madras Courier describes it as, ‘A brilliant, compelling read.’
On Amazon there are 70, 5 star reviews testifying to its accessibility and unforgettable quality. This quote from the internationally renowned poet, Dr. Jenny Lewis, sums them up. ‘I was absolutely riveted by Brushstrokes in Time – not only by the fascinating details of what life was like in China during the Cultural Revolution but also the extremely sympathetic characterisation of the protagonist, Little Winter, and her compatriots, who fought desperately for freedom of thought and speech during that dark time. I enjoyed the novel so much that I bought the audiobook to experience it a second time and found all sorts of new highlights. Sylvia Vetta has created an extraordinarily vivid and authentic portrayal of a landmark era of Chinese culture that deserves to be widely read and heard. For me, it has to be among my top ten historical novels, utterly mesmerising and unforgettable.”
Sculpting the Elephant, set in Oxford and India has been endorsed by Oxford academics and Rebecca Haque, Professor of English at Dhaka University. Harry King, a working class origin artist falls for wealthy student Ramma Gupta who is passionate about ancient Indian history, especially the time of Asoka. How many people in the world know that he was responsible for Buddhism? How many people know that he founded the world’s FIRST international university at Nalanda? When you get to the end of Sculpting the Elephant, after an enjoyable read, without any effort, you will understand India a lot better. It’s a warts and all honest portrayal of India just as Food of Love is a warts and all honest portrayal of the UK. We are human so none of us is perfect but we are better when we learn from each other.
My Memoir, Food of Love cooking up a story across Gender, Class and Race has glowing endorsements from historian, Professor Rana Mitter, journalist, Yasmin Alibhai Brown, Professor of Education at Oxford Brookes, Dr Jane Spiro, and Associate Professor of World Literature, Shanghai Jiaotong University Dr Flair Donglai Shi and more. Artist Diana Bell adds that it is ‘amusing and entertaining’.
The celebrated poet, Sudeep Sen (Vintage: Penguin Random House) and The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry (editor)says,
‘Sylvia Vetta’s Food of Love is a joy to read — warm and familial, full of lovely sketches and archival photographs. It is a unique journey — deftly articulated — weaving the personal and the public, providing a socio-cultural landscape that is still relevant. There is much to learn from here — digest, eat and imbibe these words with love.’
Because Claret Press is small, the only way my books will be read if readers recommend them to their friends and book groups.
India and China, with the USA, will dominate the twenty first century. Most Westerners know so little about either country that unconscious prejudice rather than nuanced knowledge often prevails. To balance that, I believe my novels are worth reading. They are entertaining but, in the end, readers emerge better informed about both countries.