Monday, 9 March 2009

Random reads

Cherry cake and Ginger Ale by Jane Brocket was a nostalgic read. Based on descrptions of food in a wide-ranging list of childrens books, the book takes a look at the occasions in which food is described. Quite an interesting idea, as I had read many of the books the author includes, and the recipes seem to reliable home comfort food.

A complete contrast was Amitav Ghosh's The Hungry Tide, a story set in India, in the Sunderbans, an area of islands and rivers at the mouth of the Ganges. I love Amitav Ghosh's writing. He describes India so clearly and sympathetically that I can almost see, hear and smell it , as well as visualise both people and places. This story is one of loss in so many different ways, but also a story of hope. Pia, Indian-born but raised in Seattle, comes to the area to research the lives of river dolphins, a subject in which she is an expert. On the journey to the islands, she meets Kanai, who is visiting his aunt on a mission. The story concerns Pia's meeting with a local fisherman who has a uncanny ability to find the dolphins Pia is so concerned about, together with Kanai's researches into his uncle's past life on the tiger-infested islands. The violent storm which occurs near the end of the story changes everybodies lives, some for a more hopeful future.
I recently read a comment by Erica Wagner in The Times, suggesteing we read more writers who write in English but are from non- English countries. I can thoroughly recommend Amitav Ghosh as one of those writers to read.

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