I’m over feeling cold. I’m over all these layers of clothes and I’m definitely over the heating bills!
This afternoon, after work, as I sat here preparing this post, I realised that the setting sun was not only setting later than it did last Monday, but it had shifted further North.
Today the late afternoon sun created lovely window shaped patterns on my kitchen wall above the table where I type.
I then remembered that one of the pleasures of being in a new home, is discovering the way the light moves across the spaces at different times of the year.
Naturally, I had to try and capture the moment (the vase contains a pretty bunch of Geraldton Wax).
Earlier on this year I read Ru by Kim Thuy and last night I picked up her latest book, Man to read this week.
Mãn has three mothers: the one who gives birth to her in wartime, the nun who plucks her from a vegetable garden, and her beloved Maman, who becomes a spy to survive. Seeking security for her grown daughter, Maman finds Mãn a husband – a lonely Vietnamese restaurateur who lives in Montreal.
Thrown into a new world, Mãn discovers her natural talent as a chef. Gracefully she practices her art, with food as her medium. She creates dishes that are much more than sustenance for the body: they evoke memory and emotion, time and place, and even bring her customers to tears.
Mãn is a mystery – her name means ‘perfect fulfillment’, yet she and her husband seem to drift along, respectfully and dutifully. But when she encounters a married chef in Paris, everything changes in the instant of a fleeting touch, and Mãn discovers the all-encompassing obsession and ever-present dangers of a love affair.
Full of indelible images of beauty, delicacy and quiet power, Mãn is a novel that begs to be savoured for its language, its sensuousness and its love of life.
Last week the Classics Club Spin spun me A Far Cry From Kensington by Muriel Spark.
I’ve only read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Spark before, so I’m looking forward to trying another.
My edition is one of the lovely Virago Modern Classics designer collection.
Mrs. Hawkins, the majestic narrator of ‘A Far Cry from Kensington’, takes us well in hand, and leads us back to her threadbare years in postwar London. There, as a fat and much admired young war widow, she spent her days working for a mad, near-bankrupt publisher (“of very good books”) and her nights dispensing advice at her small South Kensington rooming-house.
At work and at home Mrs. Hawkins soon uncovered evil: shady literary doings and a deadly enemy; anonymous letters, blackmail, and suicide. With aplomb, however, Mrs. Hawkins confidently set about putting things to order, little imagining the mayhem which would ensue.
Now decades older, thin, successful, and delighted with life in Italy — quite a far cry from Kensington – Mrs. Hawkins looks back to all those dark doings, and recounts how her own life changed forever.
She still, however, loves to give advice: “It’s easy to get thin. You eat and drink the same as always, only half….I offer this advice without fee; it is included in the price of this book.
My new release read for the week is Slade House by David Mitchell. I loved The Bone Clocks last year and hope this new one lives up to my expectations.
Walk down narrow, clammy Slade Alley. Open the black iron door in the right-hand wall.
Enter the sunlit garden of an old house that doesn’t exactly make sense.
A stranger greets you by name and invites you inside.
At first, you won’t want to leave. Too late, you find you can’t . . .
A taut, intricately woven, reality-warping tale that begins in 1979 and comes to its turbulent conclusion at the wintry end of October, 2015. Born out of the short story David Mitchell published on Twitter in 2014 and inhabiting the same universe as his latest bestselling novel The Bone Clocks, this is the perfect book to curl up with on a dark and stormy night.
But now seems like the logical time to assess my 20 books of winter challenge?
I only completed 9 of the 20 listed books, and reviewed eight.
Another four titles are half-read.
For me, that’s a pretty good end result. Especially when you consider that I moved house during the middle of this challenge.
Perhaps I should create a 20 books of Spring? Just kidding!
There’s always next week.