Stu’s February Journey

  1. A woman’s battle and Transformations by Edouard Louis
  2. Mothers don’t by katixa Agirre 
  3. The Queens of Sarmiento Park by Camila Sosa Villada
  4. Gardener’s Nightcap by Muriel Stuart
  5. The leash and the Ball by Rodaan Al Galidi
  6. A mountain to the North by Laszlo Krasznahorkai 
  7. Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov

My voyage of reading the world this month called at France again and another book from Edouard Louis that leaves me just one of his books to read. Then we cross over to the Basque region and a story of two women, one a reporter, the other has killed her twins years earlier; their paths crossed when they were both at university. Then we head to Argentina and a group of sex workers that hang around Srmieto park and their collective ups and downs. Then I had one of my changes of tack and a book about Gardening from Persephone books a gem of a book. Then one of the recurring themes this year is migration and being a refugee with the tall of a man trying to settle down in the Netherlands. Then I have two books from Eastern Europe, firstly from Hungarian Master Laszlo Krasznahorkai with a meditative book about a temple, and the grandson of Genji takes us through time and what makes the spirit of a place. Then we move to Bulgaria and a look at how we view the past with an assistant collecting the past for a therapist to supply his therapy of reliving the past for dementia and then everyone questions what is the past and is it healthy to live in it.

Book of the month

I loved the sense of the dual world in this book. Two women who once knew one another is drawn back when one commits a hideous act of infanticide. Of her twins, the other tries to uncover what happened but never really gets there.

Non- book events

Well, we are busy getting ready for a move, hopefully, next month, so we had a lot of paperwork and such this month to deal with which has consumed time. I also have to cull a lot of books as I have to lose a couple of bookcases in the new house, but I had dreaded this, but it feels pretty cleansing. I buy lots of books and maybe know in my heart of hearts a number I will never get to so this is like a snake shedding a skin Plus room for those unbrought books I have to buy or get sent. I have watched a few episodes of Taggert that had been put on Britbox as they weren’t available elsewhere.  I have discovered a few new book tubers to watch. Apart from that, it was a quiet February. We got a lot of new pieces yesterday at Ikea for the new house, the essentials such as light shades etc.

Next Month

It is Booker International month, with the longlist coming out in the middle of it. I had opted to miss the shadow jury, but when it came down to it, I decided to rejoin them; it has been an institution for the last 11 years I just couldn’t miss it I have tried the last week or two to read some books that may be on the list I have two big ones night of plague and our share of night two that could make the list both of which I am part way through to review before the list comes out. I  may miss the end of the month with the move happening probably a week before the end of the month. I think I may be offline for a week to ten days but

A mountain to the North, a lake to the South, Paths to the West, a river to the East by László Krasznahorkai

A mountain to the North, a lake to the South, paths to the West, a river to the EAST by László Krasznahorkai

Hungarian fiction

Original title – Északról hegy, Délről tó, Nyugatról utak, Keletről folyó

Translator -Ottilie Mulzet

Source – Personal copy

Well, if this book doesn’t win the title with the longest title this year, I’d be shocked. I have a love-hate relationship with Laszlo’s books. He is a writer I like. I love the Bela Tarr films of his book, but sometimes it feels like walking through a lake of treacle reading him. I always feel they are above me as a reader but this one I loved it is a short book, so it gave me a chance to use my kindle, which is something I am planning to try and do a little bit more than I have in recent years. Oh well, this will be the third book by Krasznahorkai on the blog. He is always high in the Nobel betting. He is one of the greatest living writers, and I need to dive deeper into his literature as a reader. I have several of his other books on my shelves that I hope to read soon. Have you read him at all?

Higher up, near the small wooden bridge that arched across the depths, but on the other side, in the middle of a small clearing, there stood a gigantic ginkgo tree. In the scheme of tiny streets, this was practically the one single unoccupied space, and of course this plot of land was only precisely as big as was necessary for the ancient tree to exist, for it to get both air and sunlight, for it to have enough strength to spread out its roots beneath the earth.

the prose he writes can be so evocative like this passage here !

This is an odd book from Krasznahorkai. It is sometimes repetitive and stunningly descriptive and beautiful in others. The book is set in a temple in Kyoto. This monastery is now a ruin. But as we are in the company of the grandson of Prince Genji.  He seems to drift through time and place as we see the past, the place before, and after. Then we see the building of the temple and the craftsmen involved in that and their sheer skill as craftspeople. The temple is a character in this book. The place comes alive as it is brought to life from his prose about the setting and place and maybe the spirit of a place as we see the grandson drift through time and place; this is told in a series of short chapters vignettes that at times use repetition to build their feeling of place and spirit of a place.  The lost garden I think of those pictures we saw the other summer of the ghost of gardens that had been in places around the country. This is the ghost of a place, a monastery but also the wonderous garden that echos the spirit of the place. The sense of time drifts and how it affects place is recalled here.

He had read about it for the first time in the last decade of the Tokugawa, when a copy of the renowned illustrated work One Hundred Beautiful Gardens turned up accidentally in his hands, he leafed through it, immediately enchanted, and although all of the ninety-nine gardens were of extraordinary interest, it was the one hundredth garden, the so-called hidden garden, that captivated him, he read the description, he looked at the drawing, and the description and the drawing both immediately made the garden real in his imagination, and from that point onward he was never free of it ever again, from that point onward this hidden garden never let him go, he simply could not chase it from his mind, he continually saw the garden in his mind’s eye without being able to touch its existence, he saw the garden,

The spirit of the Garden haunts him and the spirt of place is there

I was shocked about how different it is from the other books I have read from Laszlo. Yes, Seiobo there below; he touched on Japan and Japanese myths and imagery below. but this is anopther side to a complex writer, a brighter side, a more hopeful side of the light, not the shadow of his written word. A poetic side, a visual side. A local at what makes us and place the wreck monastery holds the spirit not just of those who used it and those who made it but what and where it was built. Then even those materials used the connection of man and material, this book makes u think long after you put it down. Have you read this book did you find it different to his other books?

Winston’s score – + B There is still something I feel i sometimes miss something in his works.

Mothers Don’t by Katixa Aguirre

Mothers Don’t go by Katixa Agirre

Basque fiction

Original tite – Amek ez dute

Translator Kristin Addis

Source – personal copy

I picked the other book from 3 times rebel press as one of my books of the year. So I knew this book would be another one I would connect with. Enjoy, but this is a thought-provoking novel tinged with sadness. It is the first book to be translated by the writer Katixa Aguirre. This book had already been translated from the translated Spanish edition. But Katxoia Agirre, as she says in the afterword, is a writer like many from the Basque region who can write in Spanish or in Basque. She chose her native tongue and, like many of the other writers I have read from the Basque region. It is a distinct voice.


On a Thursday afternoon.

That day, the nanny walked through the gates of the house in Armentia as if she were opening the doors to hell: cheeks red and reluctantly. As usual, she felt that her time off, four hours on Thursday afternoons, had gone by quickly, too quickly. The girl’s name was Mélanie, and she had been in Gasteiz for nine months, learning Spanish and trying to decide what her next step in life should be. She locked her bike in the back garden, tried to brush the mud off her sandals, and entered the house uneasily. She didn’t hear a sound. She peeked cautiously into the kitchen, the living room, and the room that the lady of the house used as a studio. She was thinking about the boy she had met that day, who had invited her on a bike ride through Salburua Park.

He wasn’t too bad.

The opening lines

The book is a tale of two mothers and has one of those points that is the start of how the two stories in the book interconnect, and that is that our narrator, a writer and Journalist, knew a woman who had killed her twins at ten months old. What draws her in is two-fold she is a new mother herself, and the woman that has killed her children is someone she had crossed paths with many years earlier when the woman, then known as Jade, had been at university at the same time. We see our narrator try and undo what the woman, now calling herself Alices, had done this act had brought to kill the twins and why. Visiting the scene where she killed her twins. Then she finds her friends and tries to piece together events whilst her trial continues. We never get that definitive answer. It is like going into a labyrinth of a mind about why she did the act she did with its twists and turns; the truth and reality are lost.

Lindy Chamberlain’s case was real, nor that it was (and still is) one of the most famous darker cases in Australia’s legal history. However, it clearly left its mark on me as I can still remember it today, and since the word dingo, which sounds cheerful enough on its own, still haunts my dreams.

The famous dingo case is mentioned a woman convicted tehn released of the murder of her daughter.

This is a hard-hitting book. As they say in the blurb, 3times rebels are bringing solid female voices from minority languages. This is no exception. This is a harrowing tale of one woman’s quest to find out why someone she met had done such a hideous act and what had driven her to that act of killing her twins. It also looks at what makes women do this and how the law has dealt with this as a crime in the past and present. The book pivots on that meeting years ago between Jade and our narrator, that is the starting point, and we follow paths similar in a way having children with a year of each other but then different outcomes. But then it is also worth noting the time she spends looking at Jade/Alice away from her child!! Few book deal with this infrequent but sad crime of infanticide. The only other book I can think of is  Beside the sea. Where the narrative is told by the woman who killed her children. In that book, the reasons and why are blurred. It is hard to capture the way in these events as it must be a point of sheer psychosis where they have no absolute control over the events for that moment. So there is no answer, just the facts of that event; like the embers of a fire, you have to rebuild the fire in your mind, which is different in every sense. The hard-hitting book lifts the lid on the taboo subject of infanticide and drags it into the light. This book looks at a horrific event like a writer like Melchor and female Latin American writers do is what I was more mind there has been mention of English writers like Spark, but I’ve not read enough of her to compare the two. Have you read this book?

Winstons score – +A stark two paths cross; years later, two babies die, one is born, and the two paths cross again!

My first library trip of 2023

I had a number of books tio return to the library a number I hadn’t got to so I decided to just pick novellas this time and hopefully I will be able to get to them they have such a great selection at our library, in fact, I think the last couple of years there selection of books in translation has grown which is handy for this blogger and for the readers of Derbyshire. so I will go through the books I have picked.

First up is Stella by Takis Würger this is a novel inspired by a haunting beauty called Stella (a real person) and a man that in the middle of world war two has come to Switzerland and is captivated by her.

Concerning my Daughter by Kim Hye-Jin is the tale of a daughter coming home in her 30s to live with her mother and the struggle with her mother’s view of how her life should be and her life. A Korean LGBT novel i love clashes of family old values against new values and ways we live so looking forward to this.

These are two novellas by the Dutch writer Gerald Reve he was a writer I had lonbg wanted to read but when I read the evenings I just don’t think that book and me connected I had read it twice and still hadn’t connect with it I had so wanted to love it. So maybe another book by him may work and I’ll go back for a third time to the evenings. I really want to like this writer.

I wanted another Japanese book to read and this Picnic in the storm by Yukiko Motoya sounds surreal collection of stories with the first about a female bodybuilder just sounded different to me.

I’ve heard a lot of Booktubers talk about reading Ferrante and I am reading days of abandonment at the moment and felt well this is short It may its time I try and read the rest of her books.I m late to the party but i got there in the end for Ferrante.

A middle-aged man on a trip to Montevideo falls for a woman he sees whilst out on a day tribe in the city just looked like it could be a fresh take on an aged old story of a older guy and younger woman.

Then is those chance books I saw this was from Dalkey archive and strangely is due out in a Faber edition next week I knew I had seen the name around it is from the 30s and is partly based on the writer’s own experiences in a mental institution after giving birth and getting psychosis I’m interested to see how different we treat mental illness now to nearly a hundred years ago how have we moved on ?

I think I may have been sent this book I have reviewed two earlier books from the same writer the Maurtius writer Nathacha both are different from the each other I love writers that evolve over their books this is a tale of a sister who steals her mother car to go and find her sister that has disappeared that grabbed me as a reader.

I loved a lot of the books Verso has brought out the last few years this won the Gioncourt prize for a debut novel and is based on an actual events and looks at France’s colonial past.

I’ve been trying to read Balzac for years in fact Balzac and Zola are on my list of writers to read more of so I thought this slim book may kickstart my journey with him. I have a couple of his longer books to read. I need to jump in and get him and Zola on my list of french writers I have read before it hits 200 books from France I have reviewed which isn’t so far off 60 books I think it may be a couple of years til I get there but no more.

Have you been to the library recently ?

History of Violence by Edouard Louis

History of Violence by Edouard Louis

French Auto Fiction

Original title – Histoire de la violence

Translator – Lorin Stein

Source – personal copy

As I said on my last post this book links in with the previous book I reviewed Black Box by Shiori Ito this book is the account of Edouard Louis when he was rapped. He is a writer I have read before I read his debut novel The end of Eddy like this book was a work of AUTO FICTION HE IS THE HEIR TO A WRITER LIKE Anne Ernaux he is able to write about his life in a way that it lingers long with you as a reader after you have put the book down. He is a fan of Faulkner even in the middle of the book he pulls up the parallel between his experience and that of Temple drake in Sanctuary.

I showed up at her house four days ago. I’d told myself, naively, that time in the country was what I needed in order to get over the weariness and passivity that had consumed my life, but no sooner had I walked through the door, thrown my bag down on the bed, and opened the bedroom window, with its view of the woods and the factory in the next village, than I knew it was a mistake and that I’d go home feeling even worse than before, even more, depressed by my own inertia.

When he shows up at his sister after the event of that night.

The book follows the events leading up to during and after a rape that happened to Edouard Louis, it is told in a non-linear order as the events after the rape form the early part of the book. as Edouard tries to piece together the events of that night. He makes his way to his sister and he recounts to her the events of the night that lead up to the Rape. Burt when his sister then tells her husband the story her brother told her. She recounts the narrative differently and makes it seem like not was partly Louis’s fault what happened. He takes exception to this and we see the events as he portrays them. AS He met and took home a man called Reda he is a man of Kabyle (not arabic as his family think later) descent. The two meet get on as Edouard is heading home on Christmas Eve excited about the night he has had with his friends. Then he invites himself back to Louis’s for a drink s. When they arrive at the flat Reda reaches into Louis’s pocket for the keys which turn Louis on. So far it is all ok and the evening moves pin the shower and grow closer. But then when he sees something has disappeared the face of the man he spent the evening with changes and the night starts to take a turn for the worse and the events that follow he describes how it felt to be attacked and then raped.

He told me that he was Kabyle and that his father had come to France in the early sixties. This was twenty years before Reda was born. When we met, Reda must have been in his early thirties. They sent his father to a designated immigrant hostel somewhere to the north of Paris, I forget the exact town, with no more than a change of clothes and a few things stuffed into a little suitcase – and not because he had nothing, though it’s true he didn’t have much, but because he wasn’t allowed to bring any more with him; as if it weren’t enough to be poor, he had to seem poor too. Reda began to tell me all this when we were standing outside my building, but it was later – when we were lying together in bed and I was begging to know more about him, about his life

They initially get on and he learns about the young man he has met Reda.

I said yesterday it was connected to the book I had read yesterday Black box the story of a Japanese rape victim that was a powerful story and this is too we have not had so many male rape novels, well I haven’t read the many and one like this that recounts the worst night of Louis life in such detail is a brave narrative but one that has to be told yes race plays a part after his family blame the fact of this on what happened to Edouard. But as he says he isn’t Arabic and that wasn’t caused by the events of that night. He records the detail of that night but also the aftermath this is where it differs from the book yesterday as it shows how he went to the police and they took it seriously and the trauma that followed that night the PTSD and how he has to make sure he hadn’t got aids the worry of that after that attack. As I say he is an heir to Ernaux he is very much in the style of a writer in Autofiction also he has a visceral nature of Faulkner as in the middle of the book when he compares his events to those Faulkner wrote. Have you read any of the books from Louis?

Winston’s score – B one mans worst night recounted and the aftermath of it.

Winstonsdads Dozen of 2023

  1. A tomb of sand by Geetanjali Shree
  2. Canzone Di Guerra by Dasa Drndic
  3. Necropolis by Boris Pahor
  4. The book of Mother by Violaine Husiman
  5. Among the Almond trees by Hussein Barghouthi
  6. Goshawk Summer by James Aldred
  7. Thread ripper by Amalie Smith
  8. The critical case of a man called K BY Aziz Mohamed
  9. Something Strange like Hunger by Malika Mostadraf
  10. Pyre by Perumal Murgan
  11. school for girls by Arianne Lessard
  12. Dead Lands by Nuria Bendicho

Here is my dozen books I have picked books I reviewed on the blog I managed to read 122 books well that is as I write this on the 29th.My books of the year start in India with the Man booker international winner about an older woman getting over her husband’s passing and suddenly aspiring in her life all that wonderful use of language that had been brought Wonderfull to life into English. Then we are in the Balkans and Canada as we see how we cope with being an immigrant and trying to keep alive our own identity and heritage this book goes back to the war and has so much more by the late Dasa a writer that should be better known. Then we are still in the Balkans and Pahors account of his life in the concentration camps as he helped a doctor and saw the horrors a testament to surviving the horrors of the camps, Then a daughter tells of her chaotic childhood with her mother that had mental health issues as some that have struggled this year with stress and my mental health books around mental health are important. Then a man returns home to Palenstine and his past and present mixes as he wanders his childhood haunts as he faces death a powerful book. Then I read lots of nature books but Goshawk summer was the best as it captured that moment when the lockdown was there and nature crept back as the world felt silent and the world slowed for a short time. Then a gem of a book that has interlink stories thread ripper is one of those books that has a loose theme of computers women and computers and tapestry it is just a book that lingers long after you have finished the book. Then we meet a man undergoing Cancer treatment in Saudi Arabia this book nods to Kafka as our lead character gets lost in the world of medicine and what his family expects. Then we have the stories of a feminist Moroccan writer that died too soon this collection captures Morocco at the time from the female point of view but also what it was like living there from a woman chatting on the internet to being on a bus. Then we shoot in India and a story about castes set in a village as a son brings a wife back from the wrong cast what will happen especially when he has to go back to the city where they first meet.It is that class of cultures a son returns after seeing the city and its world back to the small minds of the village. Then a chorus of girls from a school in the middle of the country tell their tale and that of their teachers this is a creepy collection of voices. Then lastly is my book of the year Dead lands the story of a son that has been killed and shot in the back in his small Catalan village. The book takes the form of 13 stories from family members and those involved with the death of a priest to a carer, later on, caring for one of his siblings this is a Faulkneresque style but has a strong voice that captures that world of a small village and the secrets that lie under neither.So that is my dozen for this year. I will be back in the new year.

That was the month that was November 22

  1. Blue Jewellery by Katharina Winkler
  2. Like a Prisoner by Fatos Lubonja
  3. What we leave behind by Stanislaw Łubieński
  4. What Have You Left behind ? by Bushra AL-Maqtari
  5. The Last One by Fatima Daas

I start with my only book for German lit month a Swiss novel about a Turkish Family that moves to Switzerland as the husband abuses the wife and gives her what see calls her Blue jewellery of bruises. Then a collection of short stories from his time in the Albanian Gulags from Albanian writer Fatos Lubonja. Then a n environmental nature book about what we drop and dispose of the plastic waste and its lasting impact on nature. Then a harrowing collection of first-hand accounts from those who had lost family in the Yemeni civil war. Last stop was a French Algerian Women’s account of trying to be a lean and a Muslim in modern France. Well five countries no new countries this month also no new publishers.

Book of the Month

This was such a close month all the books I reviewed were stunning books each for there own reason but this so grab me I sat in town one day in a coffee shop and just drifted into the world of the camp the story of the man losing his cat will stick with me for ever. hope and loss and despair and joy all wrapped up in one story.

The month ahead

I am in a reading slump (as I said these were great books it is hard after five books this good to read anything)  and a blogging slump (just time and a new role at work so should be a bit easier now). So I am not putting any pressure on myself I think it will be reading a number of short books I review and maybe one long book. I usually find the reading clock gets wound up tight near the end of the year it is like wind-up car we had as kids. T his time of year I need to be picked up and wound up.  I am just running out of steam and this month I will be looking at the new year and as ever starting with a clean slate and lots of hope for 2023. I look forward to the new year and great Christmas. What are your plans for the month ahead ?

Non-book events

I finally got around to Andor the latest Star Wars series I had tried it and just not gotten into it straight off. but I sat and gave to another chance to watch it again. This time I was drawn in it has a darker feel and is maybe the best series they have done as it is separate from the other series it has no real connection to the films barring the film that had Andor as a character. I start a new temporary role at work this month which maybe explains the lack of reading I am settling into this is my third week.

That was the month that was September 2022

You may notice a change I have removed numbers from what I read and from next year the books read page won’t have numbers I feel reading is a personal journey and figures just gamify our reading it isn’t about how many or how few books you read it is all our own journeys I suggest you maybe do the same I can see on my good read the figures as I use that now to track how many etc not here. Anyway back to the books it has seen me travel from Saudi to a man with cancer in a Kafkaesque nod to the book. Then a love affair is subtle as a man takes a mobile library around the hinterland of Quebec followed by a woman and a circus as a slow-burning love affair unfolds. then we meet a pair of widows trying to keep what should be theirs. Then a man in Argentina obsessed with an art magazine. Then a French girl in a provincial town is set back by her sex and will this affect her as a mother to her daughter. Then a wonderful collection of short stories behind those doors in Morocco a wife flirts is a girl a virgin and a crowded bus. Then yesterday I end with a married couple in a village as her caste and the village clash. Where has your reading journey taken you what waters have you been in? I had one new country this month but I like my books this month I always saying I should read more Arabic and African books and I did this month.

Book of the month

This may be the hardest month of all to pick one but this is a book that should be read it is an insight into a writer that died too young. She tackled the subjects maybe other writers would sex, being a virgin or. not, web sex this is just a collection you should try.

Non-book events

I have posted on the holiday the trip and the books. I also picked a couple of great records this month.

First is Filgree and the Shadow by This Mortal Coil, I had this on cd I love this collective that was run by Ivo Watts Russell that used people from the bands on his record label 4AD. If you not listen to this band I would it is ethereal and unique I love the song the jeweller on this album.

Then Sufjan Stevens the outage album The Avalanche is bits that didn’t make his Illinois album (I wish he had made more than two of the state’s albums he had said he do one for every US state but made two in the end so far) I love his mix of lo-fi, country and art rock he is a real talent.

I ll add this here as I brought this copy of Watt by Beckett yesterday and was shocked I had seen it had a couple of newspaper cuttings I just thought oh it’ll be something like a bookmark or local paper no it was from 1969 and a French paper when he won the Nobel prize such a great find.

A tv show Amanda and I watched was 9/11 : one day in America it is a six-episode series from National Geographic about 9/11 I thought I had seen every clip of 9/11 but this had so many moments of that horrific day captured that I hadn’t seen. Also, so many personal stories it doesn’t seem like 20 years ago how time has flown since that day.

Next month

I have a few books read and hope to review them. I have a couple of books for club 1929 at the end of the month to read. Who knows I read so much on a whim these days. I have the new Pamuk to read before the end of the year. What is your month looking like next month ?



Co-wives, Co-widows by Adrienne Yabouza

Co-wives, Co-widows by Adrienne Yabouza

Central African Republic fiction

Original tilte – Co-épouses et co-veuves

Translator – Rachel McGill

Source – Personal copy

I saw this a few weeks ago it had passed me by when it came out last year I have read other books from the Dedalus African series. But when I saw it was the first book from the Central African Republic to be translated I knew I had to get it I am not in a rush to read every country in the world although it is something over time I want to complete I have a number of countries to go so this the second novel from Adrienne Yabouza a self-taught writer who has Feld her country because of the civil war. She worked as a hairdresser and has written since a young age she has also written books for kids this is her first book to be translated into English she has said Mariam Ba is an influence I reviewed a book by Ba 11 years ago and can see the connection as it was about   a woman whose husband has a second wife this book takes the two wives stories in a way it could be what happened next to that story.

For some reason, or no reason at all, Lidou felt a sudden pain in his chest. It was a burning kind of pain. It began to get worse. It travelled to his left arm. He dropped his radio on the floor. He tried to take deep breaths of the courtyard air, to flush away the pain, but the pain kept getting worse. He was panting now, his face contorted. He tried to call out, but his voice was weak and was drowned out by Flavour singing his hit song ‘Ashewo’, one time too many, on the radio. The four children Lidou had made with Grekpoubou were elsewhere, the son he’d given Ndongo Passy was probably still in bed. Yaché had gone out, to get her hair braided, perhaps.

The scene where he passes away little do they know what will follow this event.

The book focus on the aftermath of the death of Lidou the husband of both Ndongo Passsy and Grekpoubou the book shows how he spends time with each of the wives it is early on he grabs his chest and dies this throws the wives under the bus so to speak it turns out that his Estate is passed on to them this draws the two close as they start to fight for there world which because of the Patrica nature of the system they find them caught up to and the way those closes to Lidou have come and tried to take over his world apart from the wives so what we see is two women especially Ndongo who seems so empowered by this and takes Grekpoudou and draws the two into a sisterhood for there world. As they battle the corruption and legal world that sees them as surplus now he has died.

In PK 10, Poto-Poto neighbourhood, they were about to strike the linga drum to announce Lidou’s death.A wake was a grand occasion: people were already gathering, eager for the opportunity to let their tears flow in company. The tom-tom player began to beat out his rhythms. It was as if a termite
mound was emptying, as a whole silent population assembled in the compound.

They say that a truce should hold until the dead person is in the ground. Zouaboua didn’t care for that convention; he was already weighing up his options. He’d grown up with Lidou; they’d been like friends and brothers. If an inheritance could fill Zouaboua’s pockets, at least something good would’ve come from Lido’s death. Zouaboua had already made good progress in that direction: he wasn’t going to let a couple of gossiping wives stand in his way.

The vultures start before he is in the ground.

It is far to say I loved this it isn’t what I thought it would be which is maybe a criticism of polygamous marriages it isn’t actually at the heart of this is their world the two wives and how they are thrown together but there a connection to Lidou through marriage makes them more like sisters at times in the book. I said it was like Ba book which examined a husband who wants to take a second wife. This could be viewed as a tail end of that story in a way. What happens after that we get a glimpse into how he’d spend a night her and a night there but it also shows the corruption and how Patrica the world they live in still is. Whereas the family dynamics is deeply centred around the females. The two women are a sisterhood around Lidou. It also shows how death can leave a void and what happens when people try to grab what is left from those who should have it. An insight into death, being female, having a fellow wife and how you have to fight to get by when the male head of the house has died. how they became co-widows to keep their world alive. A great feel to the book I think Rachel has kept alive what is a book that mixes so many emotions sadness sorrow grief anger and humour all in one this has it all. Have you a favourite book from region of Africa?

Winstons score- A – has a little bit of everything `I look for in a book a village, family dynamics and also the political world it is set in.


That was the month that was August 2022

  1. Mona by Pola Oloixarac
  2. Thread ripper by Amalie Smith
  3. Chinatown by Thuan
  4. Moderato Cantabile by Marguerite Duras
  5. The woman in the purple skirt by Natsuko Imamura
  6. scattered all over the world by Yoko Tawada 
  7. Dry heart by Natalia Ginzburg

I reviewed seven books this month and have reviewed 62 books so far I hope get to 100 reviews this year am a little behind at the mo but my journey this month has taken me to first Argentina and a writer going to maybe win a prize. Then a book that defies pigeonholing a danish novel with computers and tapestry at its heart and woman involved in them both. Then in  Chinatown In Vietnam. we met a woman who married a Chinese man and the man she married and what happened. Then a woman revisited the place the murder happened. Meets a man that works for her husband as she does. Then another woman is followed in her purple skirt a woman in a jumper watches her and sees her as more than she is in a creepy novel. Then a group of people set off to reunite two of the last people that can speak Japanese after the country disappeared and the people were scattered all over the world. Then marriage is told from the wife who married a man that wasn’t in love with him. It was of course won in translation month and every book this month fell into that category as we went from Latin America to Denmark and then Vietnam, France a couple stops in Japan and end up in Italy.

Book of the month

I chose this as it was an experimental novel that uses real people and a lot of threads to talk about woman’s rules in computers as a woman in the present uses her computer to work out her tapestry this is one of those books that remind me why I love books in translation and that is to be challenged as a reader and also to discover books that break the mould of what novels and fiction are and this ticks every box.

Non-book matters

Well I have struggled this month I just run out of steam in the general middle of the month a few family health issues worrying me, the rising cost of living (which we all have issues with), and a loss of confidence at work hit me hard and of course a heatwave again. But in the last week or so I have felt more myself and have started to talk more with those closest to me. I am pleased to have gotten through this and we are looking forward to some great things in the next 12 months in our life. Back to more interesting things I loved a couple of films I saw this month the first still life starred Eddie Marsan ( he was recently in the thief, his wife and the canoe on tv here) a wonderful character actor here he is a council work that deals with people that had died with no families he tries to find them ion not he has services for them a touching story of a man at odds with the new boss. Then a coming of age story jellyfish a young woman looks after her siblings as her mother struggles to get out of bed in Margate one of those faded seaside towns hard-hitting as she discovers her voice as a stand-up comedian. Finally, 5 days at memorial a series on Apple sees the aftermath of Katarina on New Orleans throughout those trapped in a hospital as the levee broke and floods cut them off and meant no water, power or food as they struggle to keep the patients alive based on the bestselling book by Sheri Fink (which had been on my list to get at some point since I heard about it on the New York Times book podcast).

The month ahead

I am off from next week for most of September. So I hope to review a few more books next month I have a book I have just started from a new country to the blog which is always an event these days for me. As I have a couple of weeks of work. we are having a few days in Northumberland which is our only plan. But apart from that we will be at home and the nights are drawing in I tend to read more in the evenings so looking forward to working down a few review books and TBR books. I have a huge book from Japan Well I have two books and one of those is two vols long due to arrival that I am looking forward to getting into at some point.

What have you enjoyed this month and what are your plans for September?

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