I’ve read a number of memorable books where the narrator is a very young child (Room by Emma Donoghue immediately springs to mind) but none quite as lovely as Claire King’s The Night Rainbow , narrated by five-year-old Pea.
Read the blurb for The Night Rainbow and you’d be correct in thinking it sounds like the world’s most depressing story – Pea and her younger sister Margot are grieving their father, who died in a tractor accident on the family farm. Their mother is pregnant, also grieving, and deeply depressed. Pea and Margot are left to their own devices for much of the time – they play in the nearby stream and meadow, prepare their own meals, and think of ways to make Maman happy again. And then they meet their neighbour, Claude, and their small world changes.
“There are more than a thousand things in the world and one of them must make Maman happy. But how do we know which one? Exactly! says Margot. This is our new challenge. We are going to use our cleverness to make Maman happy again. We will start by trying yellow flowers.”
It’s not a dramatic story, it’s a delicate one. It’s simply but exceptionally well told. King manages to capture the extremes of being a five-year-old – of shifting from complete self-centeredness to wondering about the whole world in the blink of an eye; from being brave to scared in an instant; from being sad to happy in the space of a minute. Continue reading
1. This* is what I’ve been looking at this week. It’s driving my Mint Slice consumption up considerably.
2. So my review** of The Paris Wife attracted some thoughts. I should add to the review that Pauline was a piece of work as well. And the old saying “Marry the mistress, create a vacancy.” Continue reading
Ernest Hemingway was a real arsehole.
Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen
Why I have it: Click over to my list of book reviews. They’re sorted alphabetically by author. There’s nothing there for ‘Q’ and it really shits me. Continue reading
Had I read Elisa Albert’s After Birth a decade ago, I would have been fuming. Talk about an author forcing readers to put their angry pants on. And their judgmental pants. And their ‘I’m being deliberately-provocative-to-make-you-furious pants. And their let’s-judge-other-mothers pants. Instead, I found it mildly amusing. I’m far enough out of the baby-zone to know that no one really gives two shits whether you had a c-section or a natural birth; breast-fed or bottle-fed; co-slept or put the baby in a cot at the other end of the house.
“The baby’s first birthday. Surgery day, I point out, because I have trouble calling it birth. Anniversary of the great failure.” Continue reading
1. I’m in a bit of a reading slump.
2. So I popped by my favourite book shop, Readings, and bought a book that I knew nothing about. Nothing at all. Continue reading
Knowing where my priorities lie, my lovely friend Lorraine (who’s Hawaiian-born-and-bred), said to me “You know you’re not going to Hawaii for the food, right?”
Despite Lorraine’s words of caution, our food experiences in Hawaii were very good*. Some of our food experiences were also particularly memorable (I’m looking at you poi).
1. Town Restaurant – easily the best meal we had. The salads… still thinking about them (especially the arugula, beets, orange, mint, cucumber, chickpeas and mascarpone salad). Continue reading
It’s a speed edition. Because up to my eyeballs in bacteriophage genetics. Continue reading
It’s six degrees of separation for books. Created by Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith. Check out the rules if you want to play along.
We begin with Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healy. It’s a mystery involving an elderly woman. A similar theme runs through The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane. Continue reading