Gabriela Harding appreciation
The first time I met Gabriela, she was dressed all in red almost as a belly dancer. She was in character to tell a children’s story at a literary event. She had published Santa Claws not long before. This I got to read eventually capturing my thoughts here.
Our relationship started with her wanting to get a collection of short stories published. This we did and Sai-Ko saw the bookshelves.
This is most definitely not my kind of book. The themes are dark, with apects of debauchery. But the quality of writing and descriptions draw the reader in. Gabriela hasn’t shied away from dealing with the somewhat depraved lifestyles of those we sometimes hear about with so much money they don’t know what to do with it. The image that comes to mind when I think of Sai-Ko is Imelda Marcos. The years immediately after the collapse of communism gave rise to accounts of over-indulgence as many restrictions were lifted and those who could afford it experimented with things previously banned. I imagine Gabriela’s knowledge of Romanian life and the turbulent time of the mid-1980s which likely informed her early years have influenced her writing.
Dealing with the dark side is a strength in Gabriela’s writing: both in Sai-Ko and Santa Claws. All done with a view to seeing the light on the other side.
I wait to see what her next literary endeavour yields.