Getting by in Tligolian
by Roppotucha Greenberg
Novella Science Fiction/Magic Realism/Time Travel
print 978-1-913665-93-7 £9.99 106pp 129x198mm
16th November 2023
Short piece in the Irish Examiner
The City-State of Tligol is ruled by dictators, holds monthly public executions and is haunted by a benign, fishing, giant, but by and large the inhabitants are content, and the food is amazing. The perfect place for a city break, just as long as you don’t want to leave. Ever.
Language has its own relationship to time.
When Jennifer falls for Sam at his execution, she doesn’t immediately realise that she can still find and live with him; but the city of Tligol has trains that will take her anywhere, including her own past, and future, and multiple possible variations, just as long as she doesn’t leave the city. Jennifer rides the trains, loops around in time and sets an unplanned series of events in motion. For lovers of The City and The City… and Hotel California!
Getting by in Tligolian is a clever, beguiling novella that weaves its way through an elusive city, encountering knotty intersections of language and time, life and death. Greenberg captures the outsider’s dislocation, the struggle to communicate, and the aching absence of a loved one who can never be truly known with finely-detailed observations. Like a half-remembered dream, this book lingers in the mind long after the final page has been turned.
J L George, author of The Word
A yearning fable of loss and love and all the bits in between; a miasmic dreamwalk one part Haruki Murakami, one part China Miéville, but, in the end, its own hypnotic, brilliant thing.
Val Nolan, co-author of Spec Fic for Newbies: A Beginners Guide to Writing Subgenres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.
In Getting by in Tligolian Roppotucha Greenberg creates a lifeline of miracles to string in unforgettable characters and the city-state of Tligol. Interwoven as study notes and lessons, vignettes and short shorts, this beautiful novella is an evocative experience traversing the maze of time and feelings, opening each layer as masterfully as it enfolds another, especially where Greenberg summarizes a relationship, “At what stage did our being together become more like falling apart? At what stage did I know that I needed to leave, but didn’t leave, except that I left? Why did we talk so little?”
Here is a voice that is original, a language that shimmers and a story that is moving and achingly beautiful and a privilege to read. Getting by in Tligolian is not to be missed.
Tara Isabel Zambrano, Author of an upcoming story collection,
Ruined a Little When We Are Born Dzanc Books 2024.
Immediate, immersive and highly imaginative, Getting by in Tligolian is a rare literary gem. Poetic and thought-provoking, Greenberg crafts a spellbinding narrative where language and time are interconnected, creating a mesmerizing experience for readers where reflections become real and the boundary between past, present, and future blurs. This novella is a testament to the power of language and storytelling to transport readers to imaginative realms. I haven’t been this captivated by a story of such singularity since reading Clarice Lispector’s Modernist classic, The Hour of the Star.