‘I don’t think there’s ever been a comparable narrative in Malta’

Lara Calleja picks John Bonello’s trilogy Il-Logħba tal-Allat.
Author Lara Calleja with her favourite book by a Maltese author.

Lara Calleja is an author and playwright whose second book, Kissirtu Kullimkien, won the National Book Prize for new writers, as well as the EU Prize for Literature. Here she tells us why she believes John Bonello’s trilogy, Il-Logħba tal-Allat, is a unique addition to the canon of Maltese literature. 

My favourite book by another Maltese author: John Bonello’s trilogy, Il-Logħba tal-Allat.

It’s about: It’s a story where the main characters access different parallel worlds in different paradigms of Malta, where time and space move differently in each realm. The book is rich with descriptive imagery that sets you into a dreamy mood of awe and nostalgia.

The thing that most fascinates me about it is: The genre is quite something of its own – merging fantasy and nostalgia – and set in the heart of a rich, local landscape. I don’t think there has ever been a comparable narrative in Malta.

My favourite quote from it is: “Qagħad iħares lejn in-nies miġbura f’dak l-għar. Kienu kollha ferħana, kollha daħkana. Min idoqq strument qisu mandolina, b’xi tużżana nies mdawrin miegħu jarawh, min jilgħab xi logħba b’ċorma oħra mdawrin magħhom, imbagħad uħud iċapċpu u jiċċaċraw. Imlewh bil-ferħ.”

If you could ask the author anything about it, what would it be? In what spirit was the story written?

It’s helped shape my writing/thinking because: My writing style is completely different from John Bonello’s. However, it set a high bar for me as a writer, and he definitely serves as an inspiration for becoming a better writer. 

I’m currently working on: A children’s rhyme story that is also aimed at adults: a unique genre in which currently I’ve become very interested in. I would like to collaborate with other artists to incorporate the full concept of the narrative. We’ll see; it’s a work in progress.

For other Sunday Circle magazine features check out these interviews with drag queen Trihanna Wilde and TV personality Joseph Chetcuti.

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