Men without women

When Haruki Murakami came out of his study earlier this year and said to his wife: "I'm going to call my latest collection of short stories 'Men Without Women'", I wonder if she thought to say to him: "Hasn't that title already been used darling?" Because it has. Ninety years ago in fact, when none other than Ernest Hemingway […]

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The well-mannered read

In this world of alternative truths, acts of terrorism, online dating and climate change, sometimes what one really needs is a well-mannered book. In well-mannered books there is no gratuitous swearing, sex is private, and war (a sometimes necessary evil?) is viewed from a big picture perspective. These are books in which Mr Please and Mr […]

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Mothers and daughters

It's a long time since I have read a happy Mothers and Daughters book. Honestly, decades. How can this be? Most of the mothers I know have great relationships with their daughters. Yet current fiction does not support this view, and I have the books to prove it: Let's start with Vivian Gornick's biographical account […]

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Feeling festive, out of Africa!

So I missed WORD Christchurch Autumn Season but just up the drag from Cape Town, in the beautiful Western Cape lies Franschoek, where every year (in May) the Franschoek Literary Festival (FLF) takes place. I was curious to see how Africa festivates*, so my daughter and I offloaded the kids and headed into the mountains. What is it about […]

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The chameleon reader

I am a chameleon reader. This is someone who takes on the personality of a character in their current read. In other words, a person who has porous boundaries between their real and their imaginary worlds. The person most affected by this is my husband - who has taken to tentatively entering the house at […]

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Librarians who write!

I've lost count of the number of times people have said to me: "You should write a book!" Sometimes this is said after I have told a funny story, sometimes when they realise that I belong to not one but three book groups, but quite often it is said simply because I work in a […]

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