Thursday, 5 May 2022

"Lies, lies, adults forbid them and yet they tell so many."

The Lying Life of Adults Who would want to be a teenager again? Not me. Nor, I imagine, the fictional narrator of Elena Ferrante's The Lying Life of Adults.

The book begins with Giovanna Trada remembering an incident when she was 12 years old: "my father said to my mother that I was very ugly". He goes further, explaining, "Adolescence has nothing to do with it: she's getting the face of Vittoria" his sister, whom Giovanna has never met. Piqued by a further description that in her aunt "ugliness and spite were combined to perfection", the young girl contrives to meet this woman to whom she bears a resemblance. As a consequence Giovanna discovers the working-class roots of her academic father, and learns that what adults say is not necessarily true.

Friday, 22 April 2022

The legacy of apartheid

The Good Doctor Damon Galgut won the 2021 Booker Prize for The Promise, but at book club we decided first to read his 2003 shortlisted The Good Doctor.

The story is told by Frank, a middle-aged, listless doctor who "had swallowed a lot of frustration over the years" and works in a hospital where there are few, if any, patients. It's set in a Homeland region of South Africa, described by Galgut in the Author's Note as "impoverished and underdeveloped [...] set aside by the apartheid government for the 'self-determination' of its various black 'nations'".

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Networking in Monaco

There are lots of businesses hoping to gain a foothold in Monaco, but making contacts can be difficult. Bradley Mitton's Club Vivanova is one of the organizations putting buyers and sellers in the same room. So...

When business in Monaco's slow
There's a bloke that you should get to know.
Don't sit there and pout
Give Bradley a shout.
Your network will soon start to grow.

Check out Vivanova's website for events in and around Monaco (and Berlin).

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Nice use of the subjunctive mood

Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe, #2) On a warm day at the end of March, LA private detective Philip Marlowe is idly looking at a neon sign for "a dime and dice emporium called Florian's". Another man, who "looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food" looks at the sign too, then enters the building. It wasn't any of Marlowe's business, but he pushed open the doors and looked in too.

So starts Raymond Chandler's second Marlowe novel, Farewell, My Lovely.

Friday, 15 April 2022

A limerick about limericks

I've been writing verses recently, trying my hand at metre and rhyme. Apparently there are rather strict rules for the rhyming elements of limericks, and I'm still not sure I've got them right. Here's another attempt.

Limericks bring such delight
But they're really not easy to write.
I have a hard time
With the rules about rhyme,
And try as I might, mine are sh*te.

Thursday, 14 April 2022

A limerick for Lola

A punter in Copacabana
Was roused by a showgirl's fine cha-cha.
Her boyfriend saw red.
One man was shot dead.
The poor girl's now old, drunk and gaga.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Ghosts of loss, death, injury and trauma

The Greatcoat Helen Dunmore has been described as "first and last, a poet", but I discovered her through her ghost story, The Greatcoat. Set a few years after World War II, it is unnerving and nightmarish.