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url 2020-09-10 08:43
Malta Today 9th Sept 2020 Interview with Nataša Pantović about Novels Ama and Tree of Life Lifestyle Questionnaire
A-Ma Alchemy of Love - Nataša Pantović Nuit

Nataša Pantović: ‘I meditate in an attempt to recall my dreams’ Maltese-Serbian novelist Nataša Pantović tells all in our Q&A 9 September 2020, 8:00am by Laura Calleja

Malta Today Interview with Nataša Pantović Life Style Questionnaire

Nataša Pantović is a Maltese-Serbian novelist, management consultant, adoptive parent, and ‘ancient worlds explorer’ based in Malta. Ama: Playing the Glass Bead Game with Pythagoras and other books by Pantović are published by Artof4Elements can be purchased on Amazon.

 

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Meditate in an attempt to recall my dreams. A dream diary is the most beautiful technique I’ve learned from Jung – he understood dreams to be messages from the unconscious, and through his own self-analysis, containing imagery that illustrates our internal soul “messaging” system.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

 

My dad, who had a PhD in law, used to discuss ancient philosophers with me, introducing me to Aristotle’s ‘eudaimonia’ - the “long-term happiness” that achieved throughout a lifetime when human beings achieve health, wealth, knowledge, friends and this in turn leads to the perfection of human nature... What do you never leave the house without? A book or a note-book...

 

 

Pick three words that describe yourself “Arche”, “Logos”, and “Harmonia”.

 

 

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? I could morph into a dolphin…

 

 

What is your guiltiest pleasure? Reading the Babylon stories written in 2,500 BC. Researching Ancient Greek, Chinese and Egyptian characters or Akkadian that symbolically narrate the stories of advanced civilizations of 2,500 BC. Discovering “real” history or how I call it “playing the glass bead game with Pythagoras”.

 

What is the most important lesson life has taught you? I “jumped” into the role of parenting, adopting as a single mother, two instead of one kid (as originally planned) even though I had no husband to support me within this journey. The madness of my little “mission” left me at home, babysitting and writing books, one after the other, since my creative flow kept overpowering me. Life is FLOW!

 

Property and cars aside what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

 

Leonardo da Vinci’s A3 size Complete Book of Art. What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger? Music, one thing I did not get as a gift from my parents. Perhaps I will be reborn as a musician.

 

Who’s your inspiration? Giordano Bruno, Herman Hesse, and Tolstoy.

 

What has been your biggest challenge? Original thinking. Any author’s dream is to be able to play the audience like a conductor does an orchestra. Take it onto a journey.

 

If you weren’t an ‘Ancient Worlds Consciousness Researcher’ what would you be doing?

 

I have already hugged a 3,000-years-old Maori tree in New Zealand and crossed the Savanah on foot and slept in the deserts of Africa, and climbed the hills of Nepal, danced barefoot under starry nights… so not researching, assuming the kids are no longer in need of my support, would probably take me back to exploring Serbian hills...

 

Do you believe in God? As a dynamic, Orphic, hermaphrodite Universe of Consciousness, Yin and Yang manifestations... then yes.

 

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be? The full cast of Ama, my fiction book: the bat, who is also a story-teller, Pythagoras, who I (as a writer) meet jumping through a universal consciousness portal, Ama, the Kenyan goddess who meets the philosophers in her coffee house, Father Benedict, an Orthodox priest, her father Ottavio who is an alchemist… wow, what a party!

 

What’s your worst habit?

 

Never ending my stories. I was re-writing A-Ma for long 10 years. The issue of white supremacy, the institutional racism, female vs. male conflict, the East vs. West struggle, the Yin vs. Yang or Dogs vs. Cats, it is a story repeated over and over again. If you are a reader, you probably get one masterpiece a year, a book that is a must read, and as an educated audience, you are deeply grateful to be holding this type of a book in your hands, but it still does not change your life. How many books have changed your life? Will a book be read in 30 years? Will my book be read in 30 years?

 

What are you like when you’re drunk?

 

I have never ever been drunk. Can you believe this? I also do not take any medication...

 

Who would you have play you in a film?

 

I wouldn’t have me “played” in a film. But I would have my daughter play Ama...

 

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

 

Conscious and sub-conscious abuse of one’s own body or mind or emotions... I feel deep sorrow when people abuse the gift of life.

 

What music would you have played at your funeral? Jamming jazz by all participants.

 

What is your most treasured material possession? Tobby, my cat, even though she “owns” us, not the other way round.

 

What is your earliest memory? Taking a teddy bear to the hospital in Belgrade, Serbia, that was closed for visits, to my sister who was operated and was gone from my life, for more than three months. I recall, at the age of 3, running under the nursing sister’s legs to give her the bear.

 

When did you last cry, and why? I cry at all times. My friend Karl Pace has just died of burning injuries, his boat set on fire...

 

Who would you most like to meet? Quentin Tarantino.

 

What’s your favorite food? As a vegetarian, a veggie meal from Krishna or a mix of forest berries from Serbia.

 

Who’s your favorite person on social media right now? I’m old-school. I read the newspaper. I still watch movies in the cinema, I buy the front row tickets. When I write a poem, or a story, I do not do it on a computer… all these handsome actors trying to act tortured, trying to look miserable. The life that is not real, does not appeal to me. So, no social media for me. Thanks, but no thanks...

 

If you could travel in time, where would you go? Ancient Malta’s Temple culture, and the time of Serbian Vinca so that I could compare the two.

 

What book are you reading right now? Babylonian Life and History by Ernest Alfred Wallis Budge (1884). Together with Lingua Maltese Studio Storico Etnografico e Filolgico by Caruana, published in 1896 in Italian. The latter, I have had the honour of holding it in my hands.

 

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Travel through time.

 

What’s one thing you want to do before you die? Spend two months in Peru.

 

What music are you listening to at the moment? A soundtrack from Emir Kusturica’s film “Arizona Dream” by Goran Bregovic.

 

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to? Mantras of all religions like Kirya Si, Shiva Shakti, Halleluya, AuM allaH, my kids hate me for it... the neighbours are convinced that I am a Muslim, or a Jew, or a Hindu, or a Christian in a dire need of some psychiatric help. Sometimes the kids, passers-by or dogs sing with me.

Source: www.maltatoday.com.mt/lifestyle/question_and_answer/104592/natasa_pantovic_meditate_in_an_attempt_to_recall_my_dreams
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review 2020-09-09 17:26
The Captain's Daughter and Other Stories by Alexander Pushkin
The Captain's Daughter: And Other Stories - Alexander Pushkin

There’s a little sense of dissonance when I read a classic and my response is “huh, okay.” This is especially true when I read the classic in translation; in this case, the translation is very smooth, contemporary, and easy to read, which causes its own form of dissonance. These now feel like contemporary stories rather than something written in the early 19th century, and compared to contemporary stories they don’t particularly stand out to me, but then I neither read them in their original language nor am familiar with the history of Russian literature so as to appreciate the ways in which Pushkin was blazing a new trail.

The stories:

“The Captain’s Daughter”: This novella occupies almost half of the book. It involves a romance between a young officer and the angelic daughter of the captain, set during the time of Pugachev’s rebellion, and Pugachev himself is the most vibrant character in it. The story moves along briskly and is fairly satisfying, though the characters are not particularly complex. This edition also includes an omitted chapter, which is interesting in that Pushkin ditched a bunch of melodrama and overt paternalism.

“The Tales of Ivan Petrovich Belkin”: These five stories, mostly around 15 pages each, are given a framing device in that they were all collected by a fictional young dead man, but they aren’t actually linked, so I’ll discuss them separately.

“The Shot”: The narrator pieces together the story of a multi-episode duel from others. It’s a bleak world in which men are expected to kill and die in duels over the most mundane insults, and those who refuse lose all respect from their fellows. (Pushkin, sadly, died himself in a duel at age 37.)

“The Snowstorm”: A prank disrupts a love affair. This is a cleverly structured story, in which after reading the end you go back and read over the earlier parts with fresh eyes, something I love in a short story. It made me uncomfortable in that I didn’t find Burmin’s behavior deserving of a happy ending.

“The Undertaker”: A man has ungenerous thoughts and is punished with a nightmare. Um, okay.

“The Postmaster”: Another narrator piecing together someone else’s story, this time of a postmaster and his prodigal daughter. This didn’t do much for me.

“Mistress Into Maid”: A sweet little story about a forbidden romance, also involving some pranking, but this time harmless. I enjoyed this one.

“The Queen of Spades”: This is a somewhat longer story about gambling and obsession, in which a calculating young man will go to almost any length for a guaranteed win at cards. I found this one pretty good and with a satisfying ending.

“Kirdjali”: Eight pages about the legend of an Eastern European bandit. Okay.

“The Negro of Peter the Great”: This is an unfinished fragment, around 40 pages long, of what was perhaps intended to be a novel. The title isn’t politically correct these days but the “Negro” in question is a (lightly fictionalized?) version of Pushkin’s own maternal great-grandfather, Abram or Ibrahim Gannibal, who was brought to Russia as a boy, adopted by Peter the Great as his godson, sent to France to study military engineering, and later returned to Russia to be an important figure in the military and the court. The fragment deals largely with Ibrahim’s love troubles, as well as his relationship with Peter the Great, who’s presented in a very positive light. This is interesting from a historical perspective though a fragment is unlikely to satisfy in a storytelling sense.

Overall, I’m glad to have read some work by a classic author I hadn’t been exposed to before, and appreciated the window into 18th and early 19th century Russia. But while the writing is perfectly fine, I can’t say any of it blew me away. I also have the sense that this collection doesn’t represent Pushkin’s best work, much of which was poetry and plays.

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photo 2020-09-06 17:54
A-Ma Alchemy of Love - Nataša Pantović Nuit
A-Ma: Alchemy of Love - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Interview Malta Today Nataša Pantović about Ama and Tree of Life

Totally excited! ❤ Massive THANK YOU to MaltaToday & Laura Calleja for giving us this wonderful double spread Q&A interview. A journalist Laura Calleja from MaltaToday has contacted me and they wished to feature my book #Ama or Playing the Glass Bead Game with Pythagoras within their weekly Q&A. The #interview just came out this Sunday 6th September (print and paid digital) Thx to my kids Ema Pantovic and Andrej Pantovic for buying the newspapers, like in old pre-Covid days

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review 2020-08-23 12:50
The Lost Queen
The Lost Queen - Signe Pike

by Signe Pike

 

Once in a while you start reading a book and the author's voice draws you right into a magical world. This was one of those.

 

It is the untold story of Languoreth—a forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legend of Merlin, according to the blurb. I checked and there really is such a legend of Languoreth with Arthurian overtones, though the details might vary a little.

 

Regardless, the story drew me in quickly and put me right into the Dark Ages, a historical period I love reading about. The writing is excellent and I've put the author on my watch list! I've also requested the sequel to this one. Apparently it's to be a trilogy.

 

The story has everything you would expect from such a tale. Battles, an illicit romance, and an interesting take on healers called Keepers that I haven't seen elsewhere. There's a touch of magic and fantasy elements in just the right amount. It is told from Languoreth's point of view and I found her an easy character to love.

 

Forget comparing this to other series. It will be one future novels will aspire to be compared to!

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review 2020-08-20 11:19
She Wears the Mask
She Wears the Mask - Shelly Stratton

Angelique Bixby is braving the streets of 1950's Chicago.  After her husband Daniel's death Angelique has had trouble supporting herself and newborn, Ella Jean.  Living on Chicago's South Side as a white woman married to a black man has not been easy.  Feeling she has no other choice, Angelique leaves her child with a respected family and tries to move on with life.  Years later, Angelique has remarried into a family of privilege.  She has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer and wants to amend her  will to include the daughter she left behind.  Angelique hires Jasmine Stanley, an ambitious, rising star at her law firm.  Jasmine's has been asked to keep strict confidentiality with Angelique's task.  At first, Jasmine believes that Angelique is another stuck up debutante, however as she digs into Angelique's past, she realizes that they are more alike than they seem; both women hold onto life altering secrets.

She Wears the Mask is a story about secrets, identity and family.  The characters were well developed and I could feel the heartbreak as Angelique made the most difficult decision of her life as well as the emotional weight of the secret Jasmine carried.  The writing skillfully worked across dual timelines divulging bits of Angelique's history as we learn about her present circumstance as well as unraveling the history of pain in Jasmine's family without giving everything away early on. I do wish we got to see a little more of Angelique's story at the end. Along with the themes of reconciling the past are themes of  gender, race and the perceptions and weight that the color of your skin can carry.  Overall, She Wears the Mask is an intense and absorbing plot and interesting characters.


This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

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