What have you just finished?
Zadie Smith, White Teeth, finally.
What are you reading now?
The Language of Threads, unwillingly. We've just got to the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. Slow going, because I'm immersed in the much happier
Aké: The Years of Childhood by Wole Soyinka. "What if V.S. Naipaul was a happy man? What if V.S. Pritchett had loved his parents? What if Vladimir Nabokov had grown up in a small town in western Nigeria...?" as the blurb says. This is a memoir, not the novel I thought it was thirty years ago when I bought it; Soyinka either has an amazing memory or supplies memory's deficits from his novelist's stash. Probably the former, odd as it seems to me that anyone can remember the events of their third year. (Soyinka is two and a half when he decides to go to school. His behaviour doesn't strike me as at all odd, given the toddlers I currently know; that he remembers any of it kerblonxes me.)
And it's a lovely genial world he describes, even with the hair-raising Nigerian notions of suitable child and/or adult discipline. But the description of the world changes subtly as Wole grows older. The people who wander through the beginning chapters as undifferentiated family members slowly resolve themselves into servants and maids and older sisters and younger brothers. The idyll cannot last long, I keep telling myself, but so far nothing troubles it except Soyinka's tendency to wander away into himself and do things he doesn't realize he's doing. And that, in a world where there are oro and egungun and abiku (as in Okri's The Famished Road), is hardly surprising.
Gypsy Rose Lee, The G-string Murders; something of a rarity, found at my sister's house. Lots of fun.
What will you read next?
Bechdel's Are You My Mother?, come by chance at the library last night. Already from the first pages it's more of a downer than Fun Home.
Possibly that biography of Lorenzo de' Medici.