"I didn't want people to read in the same way they might eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, but because I wanted them to know the mind-expanding privilege of walking a mile in someone else's shoes." Cathy Rentzenbrink
Posts tagged "family"
Distant echoes of a mighty paean

Distant echoes of a mighty paean

Readers long spellbound by Elena Ferrante’s Valhalla-like worlds of the Italian South, her redoubtable skills as a writer, the swarming opacity of the mystery that enshrouds her, her ‘voice’, defying every categorisation, or even personification, will instantly pick up the familiar echoes and sounds of her previous books as they leaf through the pages of...
Sanaë Lemoine: Brittle love

Sanaë Lemoine: Brittle love

Sanaë Lemoine’s debut novel The Margot Affair is narrated by the illegitimate teenage daughter of leading French actress Anouk Louve and prominent politician Bertrand Lapierre. Margot has grown up under a shroud of silence and shame, and as she emerges into adulthood she treads an independent path that threatens to stretch the bonds of family...
Home truths

Home truths

‘You can’t downsize a potato field… agus sé sin an fhadhb,’ the Chief called from his tractor that night when I went out with a sandwich. The Chief ’s parents – who were burnt to slags in a hay barn when he was a youth – were Gaelgoirs. He kept on the bit of Irish...
Jean-Baptiste Andrea: The child within

Jean-Baptiste Andrea: The child within

Jean-Baptiste Andrea’s A Hundred Million Years and a Day is the fictitious story of fifty-something Stan, a middle-aged fossil-hunter who, in the summer of 1954, is driven to undertake a hazardous expedition to a mountain glacier to discover the whereabouts of a mythical ‘dragon’; a probable dinosaur skeleton embedded beneath the ice. He gathers together...
The existentialist and the minestrone

The existentialist and the minestrone

Kit’s mobile rings at exactly 2.00 pm. ‘Why is everyone booking a time to ring?’ ‘It gives a structure to the day,’ says Sarah. ‘The day mightn’t want structure.’ A robin crashes against the bay window in Kit’s first-floor living room. ‘Ouch,’ she says. ‘What?’ ‘It’s the robin who flies into my window. I try to...
Marbles

Marbles

I have lost plenty of people. Every loss is a lessening. Every loss makes one more aware of how much there is to lose. But the death of my mother was something else. I don’t know when she died. She had dementia. For ten years she was among us in the midst of life cut...
Island voices

Island voices

Most people’s vision of the two-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago would comprise gorgeous, untainted beaches, lively festivals and scrumptious Creole cuisine, while V.S. Naipaul put the islands on the literary map with his early Trinidad-set novels, most notably A House For Mr Biswas. Two singularly brilliant debuts – One Year of Ugly by Caroline...
Ah Fang's lamp

Ah Fang’s lamp

People often have grey days, just as there are sometimes grey skies. I walked down that wet little side street, and every single door was shut. Raindrops rapped on the concrete road, rat-a-tat-tat, spattering echoes in the empty street. Gazing at the leaden cloud, the monotonous sound of rain all around, an indescribable gloom welled...
The secret

The secret

My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist. He was already married ten years when he first clamped eyes on my mother. In 1968, she was working at the gift-wrap counter at Davison’s downtown when my father asked her to wrap the carving knife he had bought his wife for their wedding anniversary. Mother said she...
Homesick for another land

Homesick for another land

Musician and cartoonist Carol Isaacs’ graphic memoir The Wolf of Baghdad traces her family roots among Iraq’s departed Jewish community. Wordless chapters are bookmarked by the testimonies of family members who lived in and were exiled from Baghdad. Born and raised in London, fuelled by family anecdotes and customs, Carol grew up with a feeling...