Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Icy memories, Adichie's new story&reading Mr Zadie Smith

Winter finally arrived yesterday. Last night walking home it was so cold that I had to put on my gloves- the first time this winter. Then this morning I woke up to see the cars in the street thickly coated in white as if pranksters had gone haywire covering them with balls of cotton wool- it had snowed overnight. Walking out of the front door, I had to walk carefully to avoid slipping on the icy pavement which was decorated with slabs of ice.The ice reminded me of my childhood- ever so often my mother would decide that it was time to defrost the huge "deep freeze" that sat in a room of its own between the kitchen and the food store. She would unload the plastic containers of soup and stew and meat stock and the chunks of raw meat and dried fish that filled its maw and would set to work with a little chisel. None of the house helps were allowed to do this- not after an incident (long embedded in family legend) when a previous househelp had inadvertently pierced the silver skin of a previous fridge with a knife- letting the coolant leak and rendering the fridge useless. When my mother was done with her chisel, we would struggle to carry the slabs of ice out and pour them out on the grass behind the kitchen. There we would compete to see who could stand the longest in bare feet on the ice- we would play with the ice until it all melted away. This morning looking at the ice on the pavement and on the road I remembered this.

Chimamanda Adichie has a new short story in The New Yorker http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/content/articles/070129fi_fiction_adichie?page=1

Yesterday, working from home for the morning I caught part of what sounded like a very interesting programme on Radio 4- Called Women on the Verge of Serious Power, it looked at Margaret Thatcher's rise to power in Britain and comparing it with Segolene Royal in France and Hillary Clinton in the US bids for the top job....unfortunately I had to leave for a meeting and missed most of it....

I'm currently reading Utterly Monkey- the novel by Nick Laird the erstwhile lawyer and now poet who in a different incarnation is Mr Zadie Smith- one of her books was dedicated to him- My Sweet Laird it read. His book is quite good-it's set in Belfast and London and follows Danny a Northern Irish lawyer working in London and in love (?) with Ellen who's a black girl working in the same firm. There's a scene in a Belfast hotel -The Europa- which I stayed in last year and he captures the atmosphere so well. I wonder why more hasn't been made of it.

5 comments:

My Talking Beginnings said...

wont it be great if mme Royale and clinton became presidents? The three of the eight would be run by women..i include frau merkel!!

Will look out for that book...

Anonymous said...

i will be checking out the books.
I think the democratic party race this time will be intersting to watch. An African born guy and woman. I support obama though cause i think he has a better chance.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, I remember those 'deep freeze' defrosting days well too. My mum did the same thing only she actually let it all defrost before bailing the bloodied water out from the bottom with a little plastic bowl emblazzoned with 'Chika weds John'!

Thanks for the Adichie link. BTW, did you catch the interview with Helon Habila on the BBC World Service two days ago? He has a new book out. Forgotten what it's titled though, sorry :-( Search for it on Amazon it'll probably pop up.

Anonymous said...

You can get Helon Habila's book on Amazon yet because its not out I guess. Cassava Republic aka naijablog will be publishing it later in the year for the West African market. They tell me that they will bringing out his previous book as well Waiting for An Angel (thank god). His new book is called Measuring Time

Anonymous said...

I recently created an online presence promoting african heritage in the arts, the idea is to bring artists, writers, readers and publishers together by encouraging discussion on arts and literature. http://www.myspace.com/gersys

So please feel free to drop by and leave a comment after reading the latest releases by Adiche, Habila, or Hirsi Ali!