Published by: Faber and Faber April 2021
It feels a somewhat incongruent experience to finish reading This One Sky Day and have to leave the fictional archipelago Popisho, brimming in life and warmth to come back to a frost and snow ridden UK. I have never experienced reading a book quite like it and I was transfixed from the very start.
This One Sky Day is filled with sensual imagery: the sounds of the islands, the descriptions of the taste of food and colour were extremely vivid which made the reading experience unique. It felt throughout that the landscape and its beauty was a preoccupation within the text. A place that can inspire admiration but can also change suddenly to something ominous and threating made the setting particularly vivid and compelling.
The characters too all felt immediate and complex. The story centres around a single day in the lives of the Popisho community focussing primarily on Xavier and Anise. It is an exploration of how they, both in their separate ways, are dealing with trauma and attempting to reconcile it with their present day lives and contexts. Even though we are asked to focus on the relationship of these two central protagonists, other characters have stayed with me after reading it. The young Romanza Intisiar, an outcast of the society, but more in tune with his surroundings, felt particularly well drawn. A section of the text dedicated to the meeting and development of the relationship between Romanza and Xavier felt to be particularly poignant. How they were both marked by the occasion but at the same time were able to learn something about themselves illustrating ideas of acceptance and understanding.
Magic too plays a central part within the novel, each character has Cors, a special gift that sets them apart. The exploration of this in relation to character motivation and its impact on the community made me laugh on so many occasions but it also felt incredibly heartfelt and touching at others. The ability to strike this balance makes me so excited to read more by Leone Ross.