I HAVE a confession to make: as a group I prefer immigrants to the Irish, and this is not simply a case of inverse racism against my own.
When I lived in England I found Pakistani shopkeepers and the old lady in the Chinese takeaway preferable to your average Phil Mitchel lookalike down the Nag’s Head.
Unlike most of those who can only achieve orgasm by complaining about them, immigrants tend to be so focussed on their own ambitions they do not have time to sit around dreaming up excuses. Tanya Anina is one such immigrant to Galway.
Tanya was born in Kiev in 1978, when the Ukraine was still part of the dearly departed Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and she was 13 when the USSR disintegrated. She travelled to Ireland in 2002 and now works as a nurse in Galway.
It is a huge achievement for her to have written and published this novel. Writing a novel is not like writing short stories or poems. Most poems and short stories that are started do actually get written. This is not the case with novels; indeed there are people who have spent a lifetime pretending to write a novel while wearing what was once a black French polo neck.
Like many first novels, Time For A Change, published by AuthorHouse, has the whiff of confession. The main character, Taya, finds a bit of respite from her sexually dead marriage to Tim, a doctor, by becoming entangled with the much younger Ivan.
It is not a new story. Many previous versions of it have been told. What sparks interest is the back drop: the story moves back and forth between Kiev and Ireland. Change is forced upon Taya in a way it might not have been if she had been grown up in, say, Renmore.
Time For A Change is more than a romance novel. Anina can write too. I loved the opening paragraph and agree entirely with its sentiments - “I prefer to travel by airplane. It is a place where I feel free and at ease…This is because, during a flight, you are out of reach to others. No one can call text or email you.”
One observation I would make is that Tanya Anina has not been best served by her publisher. There is a slight carelessness in the way the book is presented. AuthorHouse is variously described online as a “self-publisher” or “vanity-publisher”. I have no doubt that Tanya Anina will write other books and that the lessons learned writing Time For A Change will be of benefit.