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The cook and I have a physically sympathetic relationship. 'How are… - Off the Cliff

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Wed Mar 23rd, 2016


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10:11 pm
The cook and I have a physically sympathetic relationship.
'How are you doing?' she asks.
'Yesterday was terrible- I could barely walk-'
'Yeah, my legs were so stiff at the end of the day-'
'But this morning I felt so much better.'
'Yeah. I woke up and thought, hey this isn't bad. But then an hour or so ago-'
'Everything started twinging again-'
'I could feel it starting all up the side of my leg, time to reach for the aspirin...'

I'm relieved that my weirdly recurring ouchies are felt by someone fifteen years younger than I, who doesn't have arthritis either. Weather really is a bitch, especially when it threatens freezing rain and sleet.

What have you just finished?
Camara Laye, The Radiance of the King, thank god. No one calls this magic realism, alas, because if they had I wouldn't have been quite so lost. It was irritatingly reminiscent of adult novels I read as an adolescent where no one behaved rationally or thought even remotely the same way I did. In that case it was because the worldview of a 1940s adult American male was nothing like that of a 1960s teenage Canadian female: and I obscurely resented the notion that these people were supposed to represent accepted normality. In this case all I could see were Camusian mental fogginess and Conradian hysterical disintegration, but then I'm a white Canadian reading the work of a French Guinean.

Which is the rub: the book reads very 'translated from the French'. I don't know what word was rendered as 'toss-pot', but whatever it is, toss-pot is the wrong translation. A major element in the book is the smell of things- in the city the smells are foreign, in the forest village the smells are overwhelming and langourous and put the protagonist into a literally drugged state. But the word used is always odour and that too is the wrong word. 'Can't you smell the odour?' is silly.

We won't- we really *won't*- go into the use of 'cock'. I'm not sure if the same rooster/ penis meaning is expressible in French, but it was seriously overdone.

What are you reading now?
Shakespeare's Rebel, still, with self-shout-outs I could have done without. Doubt that I'm getting anywhere with Magnifico, which reads too much like Shakespeare's Rebel.

What will you read next?
If the roads were not supposed to be covered with ice tomorrow, I'd go down to Lil Smith and get My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, just for the sake of more Yoruba erm youkai. As it is, either Jemisin's The Killing Moon or Saunders' Dossouye, but neither are light-weight backpack books. Maybe a reread of The Epic of Gilgamesh, read back in uni in 1971 for reasons I can't fathom now. It certainly wasn't part of my classical or medieval courses.

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