"Hwang Sok-yong has a knack of presenting us with stories that look like the simple jottings of an idle, curious man... yet each phrase almost is invested with the power of a parable." Mika Provata-Carlone
Posts tagged "family"
Wedding plans

Wedding plans

Mrs Binat’s ambitions for her daughters were fairly typical: groom them into marriageable material and wed them off to no less than princes and presidents. Before their fall, her husband had always assured her that, no matter what a mess Alys or any of the girls became, they would fare well because they were Binat...
Pride, prejudice and parathas

Pride, prejudice and parathas

When I was fourteen years old, my Aunt Helen gave me my first Jane Austen novel, a beautiful red and gold hardback of Pride and Prejudice. I remember climbing onto my bed one summer afternoon in Lahore, the heat tempered by the roar of the AC, and settling down with this new read. It is...
Just sittin’ here doin’ time

Just sittin’ here doin’ time

When my mother got home, the four of us would head out to dinner, and twice my sister, Rachel, joined us. It felt sometimes like it was the old days again, and other times a little strained, as though we were in a play about a family who all hold secrets from one another. In...
Great expectations untold

Great expectations untold

In 1949 an Australian man is travelling around Europe – a Europe that has only recently emerged from the cataclysmic shock of WWII, and still very much bears the marks of unhealed, perhaps unhealable searing wounds. This man, Denison Deasey, carries with him an aura of mystery and of multiform tragedy, of fate eluded and...
The land where Saturn reigned

The land where Saturn reigned

“Each man is in his Spectre’s power” – these are words by William Blake that Marcello Fois deliberately places as the inscription over the gates of heaven or hell that was Sardinia as a private space of memory and genealogy, and as a very public constituent part of Italian society and history, a microcosm to...
Illustrations for a life unlived

Illustrations for a life unlived

“When I was twelve, other people thought I was a prodigy who dazzled and disturbed… by the time I was twenty, I’d learned to deride the facility of my hands as if it were a weakness.” Daniele Mallarico, who speaks these words, is a renegade Neapolitan, an old man on the edge of the precipice...
Piercing prisms and Persian perspectives

Piercing prisms and Persian perspectives

“The truth of memory is strange, isn’t it? Our memories select, eliminate, exaggerate, minimize, glorify, denigrate. They create their own versions of events and serve up their own reality. Disparate but cohesive. Imperfect yet sincere.” Thus begins a compulsive, fiercely resisted, yet inevitable journey into memory in this in many ways extraordinary novel – the...
Négar Djavadi: Neither here nor there

Négar Djavadi: Neither here nor there

French-Iranian screenwriter Négar Djavadi’s illuminating, richly entertaining debut novel Disoriental combines a sweeping family history in 20th-century Iran with an intimate study of identity and motherhood in contemporary Paris. Kimiâ Sadr is a lesbian punk rocker who spent her teenage years in the French capital after the family fled the trauma of Iran’s 1979 Islamic...
New happiness

New happiness

There is a Latvian goddess of happiness, Laima. It was most probably she who instilled the Latvian language with its rhythmical lilt, its roguish plosives and stops, the stark, spare melodiousness of its musicality. It was most probably she who lured generations of Latvians, both ancient and modern, to their native forests and fields –...
Magic in the mists

Magic in the mists

Land of Smoke is the first English translation, by Jessica Sequeira, of a work by my mother, the recently rediscovered Argentinian writer Sara Gallardo. A story collection originally published in 1977, it is a haunting cornucopia of the strangest fare Southern South America can possibly offer: Andean Sasquatches breeding hybrids with Basque deserters, a stubborn...