Poum and Alexandre: A Paris Memoir by Catherine de Saint Phalle

Poum and Alexandre by Catherine de Saint Phalle is a curious book. It’s a memoir, focused on Saint Phalle’s Parisian childhood with her unconventional parents, Marie-Antoinette (Poum) and Alexandre –

“The patterns of the eccentrics are often rigid. My parents have many idiosyncrasies and any new ones become instant habits. Theirs is a disciplined madness.”

The book reads like a fairy tale. Told through the eyes of eight-year-old Saint Phalle, her stories are studded with references to Greek mythology, The Odyssey, the Magna Carta, visits to Givenchy, the Napoleonic Wars and the French Resistance.

“He talks the whole time about Alexander the Great, Constantine, Caesar, Julian the Apostate. He tells me of palaces and forests, galloping¬† horses and raped women. His voice gathers momentum and his hands seize javelins and slave girls. He canters up hills where we stare at burning cities.” Continue reading

The Stella Prize 2017 Longlist

stella-prize-longlist-2017

I’ve been glued to Twitter all evening, busting to hear the Stella Prize 2017 longlist announcement. It’s here, so now I can relax (and start reading and predicting) – Continue reading