“Deep curiosity, deep listening, that’s what we have to give to each other. Reading is a form of deep listening, isn’t it? Staying with something, and being affected by it." Maggie Gee
Posts tagged "home"
A party for Hanna

A party for Hanna

The first guests start to arrive. There is not yet any sign of Hanna, who claimed she would be there early. ‘But “early” for Hanna still means late by most people’s standards,’ Kemi says. She doesn’t seem at all worried that Hanna might not turn up, so Alice tries not to be either. She welcomes...
Mystery, magic and treasured memories

Mystery, magic and treasured memories

In Sally Hinchcliffe’s bewitching new novel Hare House, a woman decides to leave London when she loses her teaching job, and moves to a remote part of southwest Scotland. Renting a cottage on a scattered estate, she strikes up a friendship with her landlord Grant and his beguiling sister Cassandra. Soon she begins to realise...
A ghost of Christmas, present

A ghost of Christmas, present

The smell hits me as Gary closes the door behind me. Some Scratch ’n’ Sniff abomination – I’d call it ‘December 1983’, but I’m damned if I know what it actually is. “It’s frankincense,” Gary says. “Off a display at Bed Bath & Beyond. Little spray bottle. Heh.” He shrugs. “Guess I got trigger-happy.” “Apparently,” I...
Liminal inspiration for Unsettled Ground

Liminal inspiration for Unsettled Ground

A bookseller who was interviewing me for an event once commented that the one thing that he could see which linked all my novels was that the main characters live in buildings which shouldn’t really be habitable. Unsettled Ground, my fourth novel, is no exception. I have always been fascinated by buildings that humans once...
Starting over

Starting over

Kololo Hill by Neema Shah (Picador, 18 February) starts with Idi Amin’s declaration that all Asians must leave Uganda within 90 days. What follows is one family’s fear, sadness and the uprooting of their whole life. Jaya and Motiband moved to Uganda from India and have built up a successful life and business along with...
Neema Shah: A place called home

Neema Shah: A place called home

If you’re non-white living in a majority white place or indeed a visible or identifiable ‘foreigner’ in a land, the chances are you will have at some point been told to “go back to your own country”. Especially in 1970s Britain. The people who regularly shouted this none-too-friendly command would most probably not stop and...
On the matter of eternity

On the matter of eternity

The past few years have seen the explosive emergence of a highly fetishised and merchandised cult of the home: as a fiercely protected private space of explicitly public (voyeuristic) visibility, as the locus of a redefined, globalised community of purported ecumenical camaraderie, as the shrine of high-design spirituality, and as a new status symbol of...
Sleepwalker

Sleepwalker

Martin can still hear the way Vickie screamed that night when they’d set the bone. He winces. She was just a little girl, then. Downstairs, pots and pans knock against each other. The cupboard closes. A passing car smears a phantom window over his walls. It leaves behind darkness and the gray outlines of things...
In the light being cast from the kitchen

In the light being cast from the kitchen

It’s difficult to explain why you wake up at 3:35 in the morning with no apparent cause. Just as you are about to lift the lid off the saucepan in your dreams, you wake up suddenly, as if sensing the weight of someone’s gaze on you, and find yourself wrapped up beneath a blanket. You...
It must be love

It must be love

I sat Yichun on a park bench while I hunkered down to crack the walnuts with a stone. Her face was the same color as the flowers nearby, and I went into a sort of trance as I bashed away. One must have had a mind of its own because, after I struck it, it...