Dak li l-Lejl Ihallik Tghid (2011)
winner of the EU Prize for Literature
In English translation:
I went to see her, pa
The new collection of short stories, Dak li l-Lejl
Ihallik Tghid (what the night lets you say), takes Mejlak to the
next level in his literary maturity, as the emotions explored go
deeper, the characters more scarred, the locations more lived-in.
Where 'Qed Nistenniek Niezla max-Xita' was carefree and imbued with
the boundless freedom of a young life in big cities, 'Lejl' is occasionally
dotted with the onset of regret. For every story like 'L-Ambaxxatrici'
(the ambassador), where casual sex is practically worshipped as
a religion, there is a mind-blowing counterpart like 'Rihitu' (his
scent), with its claustrophobic intimacy and chiselled emotions,
or 'Nixtieq nghajjat lil Samirah' (I want to call out to Samirah),
possibly the most painful love story ever written in Maltese.
One of the first things fans will notice, is that
the stories in 'Lejl' are considerably longer than those in 'Xita',
giving Mejlak scope to scour his characters' innermost feelings
and explore further the textures of the chosen background. Because
backgrounds are an integral part of Mejlak's stories: spanning from
Catalonia to Malawi, from Gozo to Beirut, they invariably steal
some of the limelight. There is no doubt that 'Dar ir-Rummien' (Pomegranate
House) is utterly dependent on its being set in Gozo; just as 'Mort
naraha, pa' (I went to see her, pa) would be a totally different
story had it been set in Germany instead of Spain. Fans who have
been waiting for 'Dak li l-Lejl Ihallik Tghid' will not be disappointed;
and a whole new league of readers who have yet to discover the sound,
texture and taste of Mejlak's writing are in for a very special
treat. 'Dak li l-Lejl Ihallik Tghid' will be launched at Malta's
most beautiful historic house, Palazzo Falson in Mdina, on June
(from Indulge Magazine, summer 2011)
"Tasting the joy of writing"
Stanley Borg, The Times
"Mejlak is the narrator par excellence, winning
you over effortlessly"
Charles Flores, L-Orizzont
"Mejlak manages to hit emotional pressure points
with remarkable skill."
Teodor Reljic, MaltaToday
"Taking Maltese literature into new territories."
"A simple, unputdownable text that transforms
the mundane into an attractive fun-fair. You willingly join the
Pied Piper for the ride and enjoy every single word of it. Two thumbs
Jacques Rene Zammit, J'Accuse
"Writing, like all art, is a craft, and there
is nothing better than reading a finely crafted book. But it takes
an artist to transform that craft into something more, and that
is what Mejlak has achieved once more."
Alex Vella Gregory, The Sunday Times
"I feel this is Mejlak at his best. The book
hit me deep down, with most of the stories striking a chord from
my own life and memories. There were moments when I swore he was
pulling my leg. I had to stop and reread the paragraph to see if
I had missed my name somewhere."
Rupert Cefai, Gallery Pi Blog
"Another excellent collection of short stories.
You have to read it. If you don't read Maltese, hard luck, though
if you don't read Maltese even if you are Maltese, shame on you,
once, twice and a thousand times."
I. M. Beck, The Times
"Darker, intense, emotion-laden work that explores
the power of memories and nostalgia."
The Malta Independent
"A significant departure from his earlier work
- more sombre, more reflective."
Alex Grech, Malta Inside Out
"His best, most assured and sophisticated book
"Just brilliant. An excellent example of how
the Maltese language can be put to great use when a writer knows
what he's doing."
"In his new book, Mejlak takes on the role
of an explorer. Readers are in for a treat."
Michael Caruana, Il-Mument
"Hurry up, Pierre Mejlak, and write another
Corazon Mizzi, One TV
"Fresh and forward-looking"
Joyce Grech, Education 22
"A delight to read. Mejlak is definitely a
notable among the modern breed of Maltese writers who have put to
rest the ghost of stilted and unimaginative narration that used
to plague what seemed to be like the majority of Maltese literature
until fairly recently."
Colin Fitz, First Magazine
"How on earth did Pierre J. Mejlak manage to
not only get us to read but also to - shock, horror - read books
Ramona Depares, The Times
"The work of a maturing voice"
Peter Farrugia, The Sunday Times
"Mejlak's writing shows the short story genre
at its best and puts paid to the myth that a short story cannot
have a strong plot and character exploration. Mejlak confirms his
reputation as an author with a penetrating eye into the psyche and
soul of fellow human beings, and does not shy away from exploring
the darker side of human nature."