Troubador The Barefoot Road

Interview with Vocable

Interview with Steve Lockie

Released: 28/04/2018

ISBN: 9781788038638

eISBN: 9781789010459

Format: Paperback/eBook

Review this Book

The Barefoot Road

by

Vivienne Vermes' debut novel is a gripping read that will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction, thrillers and evocative themes. A young woman is found, emaciated and unconscious, in the mountains surrounding a village in Transylvania. When the villagers discover that she is of the same ethnic group that was driven out of the region years before, they are reminded of their part in the bloodshed, and old wounds reopen.  


An uneasy peace is maintained until a young married man falls in love with her, and tensions rise within the community. 

While the story unfolds in the microcosm of a small village in the past, its themes are as universal as they are timeless: the fear of the outsider, the supernatural versus the rational, and the force of desire between man and woman.

Reading in the Blue Belle Cafe in Penge on Sat Oct 7th, 2017, as from 7.30 p.m. as part of the Penge Poets' event.

Reading in Paris with the Paris 17 and a Half Minutes' Writing group in December 2017. Exact date and venue TBA.

Book launch in Paris, 19h30, May 25th, 2018, Berkeley Books, 8 rue Casimir Delavigne, 75006 Paris. Metro Odéon.



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I received this as a review copy from NetGalley. I'm a big fan of historical fiction and this certainly didn't disappoint.

It was also refreshing to read a novel set in Transylvania that doesn't involve vampires, it does still show the fears and superstitions that were rife at the time and how easily peoples opinions can be swayed.

A very good read and I would definitely recommend it to all historical fiction fans.

by Alan Taylor


This book is fabulous! I just finished it and I still have tears in my eyes. Wonderful imagery and poetic prose but best of all is the haunting story! The author is truly a teller of tales. Once I started reading the book, it was impossible to put it down. When I got close to the end, I read slowly slowly slowly so that the book would keep on going…

by Marval Grabner


I've just finished reading The Barefoot Road. I enjoyed it: as an engrossing story; as an account of the clash between different views of the world: those who are welcoming and those who are afraid of others; and as an evocation of a lost rural way of life where the division between human and the natural world was less obvious - people as part of nature rather than separate from it. Vivienne Vermes has a great storyteller's gift!

by Alan Howe


I finished reading "The Barefoot Road" yesterday. It really is a remarkable piece of work. It is incredibly evocative, full of astonishing imagery and so rooted in another time (I imagined the late nineteenth century), another culture, yet also for me mirrored that almost timeless and placeless sense of the village as both a haven and a trap - and a place where small minds can curdle with enmity for that which they don't understand.
They talk about "willing suspension of disbelief" in a movie or a book, and for me I utterly experienced that. For the characters were so real. There was also a great structure to it with that slow but sure, and increasing in tempo, building to the violent and cathartic climax. A great piece of work.

by Stuart White, journalist, novelist and screenwriter


It's an amazing book, full of humanity's vulnerability, love and hate.

by Jane Allen-Brown


This book is poetic and timeless and shows exactly why VIvienne Vermes is an award-winning novelist and poet. It will become a classic of European literature.

by Martin S of "That's Books"


“The book is poetic and timeless and shows exactly why Vivienne Vermes is an award- winning novelist and poet. It will become a classic of European literature.”

by That's Books


This book is not a comfortable read. It is quite graphic and earthy in its portrayal of life in this small village and does not flinch from descriptions of sex and violence. I was in the writer’s thrall from beginning to end and left unsettled and stirred and moved, saddened and enraged and altered by the experience of reading.

by A Little Book Problem


“The Barefoot Road evinces a poet’s sensitivity towards language and a dramatist’s understanding of plot...This novel stays with the reader, resounding in the daily news where the fear of what is not understood soon transforms into dogmatism and intolerance.”
– Dr. Dawn-Michelle Baude, book reviewer, Huffington Post

by Dawn-Michelle Baude


Taking the guise of a humble, unassuming fable, I believe that The Barefoot Road is a critical social commentary that has huge relevance, and is deserving of a great deal of recognition for its depth of perception and insight into human frailty and limitation. We are all residents of that Transylvanian village. We are all the outsider.
Review from Jan’s Book Buzz, bookblogger

by Jan's Book Buzz


The story is beautifully timeless. It is historical fiction, but could have taken place at pretty much any time in any place and, sadly, is still perfectly relevant to the present day as well. This is wonderful historical fiction.

by Stephanie of Litflits


The Barefoot Road is a book that holds a sinister air from the very first page, although it is hard to say whether this is due to the remoteness of the village, the rawness of the landscape or the actions of the villagers and their massacre of nomadic tribe.
Something about the author’s writing set me on edge before anything had even happened and left me with a chill in my bones. The vivid imagery brings the stark landscape to life as local gossip and politics are intensified by the isolation of village both by the weather and by the terrain that surrounds it.
This is a book that is scary in its honesty, showing how one power hungry person can so quickly whip up fear and hatred in otherwise good people, creating a mob mentality that leads to shocking brutality.
Review by Mai’s Musings, Bookblogger

by Mai's Musings


I was reminded of books like Joanne Harris’ Chocolat and Toni Morrison’s Beloved.
Although this was not easy to read, mentally or emotionally, it really resonated with me and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for a well-written story about division and racial tension.

by Bookshine and Readbows


This is a beautifully written book, almost poetic in its language, and graphical in its depiction of a time, not that long ago, where fear, suspicion and wild accusations could change the path of history.

A great read, written with real sensitivity, it portrays the human condition at its best and its worst.

by Pashtpaws, Breakaway Reviewers


I wouldn’t just recommend this book; I would also shout from the rooftops! If you love a book set in a time where people were afraid of differences and in a time where superstitions were believed, then look no further.
I simply cannot recommend this book enough! This was a very good read; one which has lasted with me way past turning the final page.

by Stephanie Geary Writing From the Heart


The story is beautifully timeless. It is historical fiction, but could have taken place at pretty much any time in any place and, sadly, is still perfectly relevant to the present day as well. We see an isolated rural community turn from being open and supportive to closed and aggressive when their fears are maliciously manipulated by a power-hungry man. Vivienne Vermes takes time to fully describe the Transylvanian setting and to realise each of her characters so I could easily understand why each of them made certain choices in the second half of the novel. The pace is cleverly increased throughout so, after a shocking introductory chapter, we are lulled by gentle depictions of friendly village life. I appreciated how this allows readers to 'forget' the initial violence in much the same way as the villagers themselves chose to 'forget' what had been done by the previous generation.

by Litflicks, Stephanie


The Barefoot Road is a haunting historical fiction, which I could not put down. I was so intrigued when I saw the synopsis for The Barefoot Road, I just had to read it. And I am so glad I did. It is so beautifully written and there is a real haunting quality to the story too. I read it in just one day.
I found myself so enchanted by the story and the characters. The writing style was beautiful and there were so many gorgeous quotes woven throughout the text “He moved towards her and kissed the top of her head, smoothing her hair with his hands, as if to make everything the way it should be, and rarely was, except in moments that vanished like the pitter of rain.”
The Barefoot Road describes life in a mountain village in such vivid detail it is both beautiful, with its sense of community and brutal, with the mob mentality that can overtake a community with devastating results. The events of the plot quickly escalate in the second half of the book, almost to the point of chaos.
The wide range of characters evoked all sorts of emotions - they were all so vivid and well written. It was heartbreaking to watch as the village unravels and the innocent acts of children could be used to justify evil.
The ending of the book was a heartbreaking and haunting as many of the darker moments of the book, and the sense of loss was profound.

by Odd Socks and Lollipops


I had heard “never judge a book by its cover.” But it would not be wrong to say that you can do this with this book, the story is as brilliant as the cover is beautiful.
The cover of The Barefoot Road, a beautiful painting decorated with different colors, which attracts the book.
The silent dark night, the flames of fire rising from inside the house, and blood flowing on the road, on one hand fear-less couple Everything that creates an eagerness to turn the pages of the book.
The title of the book, The Barefoot Road, is as appealing as its cover.
The blurb of the story is described as ‘a fable for our time about racial division, set in historical Transylvania’. The story begins with a young woman found, emaciated and unconscious, in the mountains surrounding a village in Transylvania.
This story is a critical social commentary which has huge relevance for today’s audience. The language is simple and lucid. Narration is cool and engaging throughout the book. The pace is perfect - neither too slow or fast.
Recommended to all the book lovers.

by ashirespondingtolife


The prose and attention to detail is magnificent. The descriptions are vivid and authentic. Each character is well drawn and very human.


by Hellen Hollick, Discovering Diamonds


Vivienne Vermes

Vivienne Vermes is a British writer and actress of Hungarian and Irish descent who has lived in Paris for thirty years. She has published three collections of poetry, "Sand Woman" (Rebus), "Passages" and "Metamorphoses" (L'Harmattan), performed her work all over Europe, and run creative writing workshops in Greece, Romania and France. She is winner of the Paragram Poetry Prize (2013) and Petite Prose Prize (2016), and of the Mail on Sunday's Best Opening to a Novel competition as well as Flash500's prize for short fiction. As an actress, she recently played Queen Elizabeth 11 in the French comedy film "Les Profs 2", and her voice constantly reminds passengers on the Paris metro to "mind the gap". "The Barefoot Road" is her first novel.

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