Have you ever been house hunting?
It feels much like hydrocephalus without any shunting
You’ve got the headache, the confusion and you hope for the memory loss
As you poke round stranger’s rooms, you smell the smegma and lol, is that moss?
Oh wait! It’s that classic teenage boy scent, on a man who’s well past his adolescence.
The agent tells you its charming, although the pictures don’t quite correlate
Never has an agent been more inadvertently right, the pictures are essentially bait.
They say pictures are worth 1000 words,
I say pictures hide 1000 turds
They hide the mould, the clutter, and the fact that your neighbour is probably a nutter.
But still we soldier on, undeterred
Because we need a place to rest our heads, from 2nd year into 3rd.
The Thing Around Your Neck is a collection of short stories from the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She explores so many topics and themes in these short stories, with elegance and grace she holds the readers attention and just doesn’t let go.
She writes about the experiences of Nigerians living in contemporary America, about Nigerian women who find themselves in America for various reasons. Betrayed by the men they looked up to, who were supposed to give them bright futures. In ‘Imitation’, ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’, ‘The Shivering’ and ‘The Arrangers Of Marriage’ she writes about their disappointment; in men, in life, in America. She also writes about the onset of colonisation in ‘The Headstrong Historian’. About Nigerian politics, political unrest and the biafran war in ‘Cell One’, ‘A Private Experience’, ‘Ghosts’ and ‘The American Embassy’. About homosexuality in ‘on Monday of last week’ and ‘The Shivering’.
I love how Chimamanda breaks down the ignorance of the white man in ‘Jumping Monkey Hill’. Where a collection of writers write about their personal experiences but find themselves dismissed by a white lecherous snobby benefactor who does not believe the things they are going through are truly African. Chimamanda has spoken about the danger of a single story before and I feel like she is reminding us in this short story. Despite claiming to be a keen Africanist having lived on the continent for so long, the character is blind to the fact that Africans can be lesbians or that professional women are expected to present their bodies and sexuality as part of the commodities for sale during the negotiation of contracts. This white man, stands there and argues what the true African experience is and what is a valid story for an African to write.
Adichie reminds us that the African experience is multifaceted, very obviously in ‘Jumping Monkey Hill’ and throughout the collection.
‘The headstrong historian’ is probably the best story in this book. It read like a shout out to Chinua Achebe and was an amazing way to end the collection. However, my favourite of the short stories was ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’ because it is so emotional. Because it is a collection of so many niggly feelings that you can’t quite explain. So many questions that you might not even want answered.
The thing around your neck is 5/5 for me, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie creates so many lump in the throat moments. The book was so easy to read and i wished it would not end. Her stories are so deliciously told that only after you have consumed them with gusto do you realise that you have learned so much from her amazing storytelling.
Happy Reading ❤
Root of the Tudor rose is the debut novel of Mari Griffith. The story of the origin of the Tudor dynasty is told from the viewpoint of Catherine De Valois, an important woman who history sometimes glosses over. We read of her journey from the young French princess to the wife of Henry V – Queen of England. After the unexpected death of her husband, the queen mother seeks solace in the arms of a wondrous Welshman. Their friendships progresses, and evolves into the love affair that gave rise to Britain’s most well-known dynasty.
Catherine De Valois’ beauty is initially the main focus, but we soon learn that although vulnerable, she is also intelligent and strong willed. Although she is pigeon-holed by the ruling men, and prevented from contributing to the upbringing of her eldest son. She manages to find some happiness in raising two of her children for some time, before death finds her.
The novel is easy to read and captivating, we are taken through the life of Catherine Valois at a brilliant pace. Mari Griffith’s descriptive talents bring history to life, making this book a page turner.
As a reader with very little historical knowledge in this area, I found the story intriguing enough to prompt more exploration of the Tudors and I believe this has much to do with the quality of work that Mari has produced.
Happy Reading ❤
‘What became of the white savage’ is penned by French novelist Francois Garde and has won him 9 literary prizes in France.
The novel begins in the 1840’s when a young French sailor by the name of Narcisse Pelletier is accidentally abandoned on the coast of Australia and assumed dead by his shipmates. 17 years later he is discovered living as one with the aboriginal people having forgotten all of his initial French identity and language.
The novel alternates between two narratives, one being that of Narcisse as he is welcomed by an aboriginal tribe. The other takes the form of letters written from Octave, a geographer, to the president of the Paris geographical society.
This novel has an interesting concept at this core, it questions what identity means to us and touches on its fluidity. His depiction of the effects of competing cultural values was creative and I found it entertaining. The technique of alternating between the two narratives also worked well to keep me engaged.
The encounter with the aboriginal people is explored from a singular point of view, Narcisse’s. I feel I would have enjoyed the book more had there been some chapters about how the native people might have perceived the sudden arrival of this stranger. The novel is somewhat inspired by the true story of a French sailor abandoned in Australia, but it does not deliver in the way that historical fiction should, conveying very little historical truth. However, in a purely fictional context I found ‘What became of the white savage’ to be an engaging and satisfactory novel.
Happy Reading ❤
“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” – Dr Seuss
Happy Reading ❤
Waterstones telling it like it is…