The Zoo Father – Pascale Petit

This is a collection of poems about an abusive relationship between father and daughter as the father is dying. There is vivid imagery of the Amazon rainforest and a thread of healing through the rainforest.

I’m never quite sure how to read poetry, read some of these aloud, which definitely helped with the “rhythm” of the poems, although I feel a bit foolish reading aloud on my own (and didn’t want to read poems this violent with my son in the room).

the Elephant – Sławomir Mrożek

The Elephant is a collection of short stories in the form of parables to illustrate the surreal nature of life in an European police state. Mrożek uses metaphors involving animals for some of the stories, to show how people were treated as animals by their own government.

The image of political dissidents being trapped in cages is far more vivid for the parable of how dissenting views were treated than just the knowledge that they were censored. It gives a real sense of how it would feel to be unable to talk freely about politics, the government and individuals in powerful and privileged positions.

Being of an age that means I cannot remember the time before the Berlin Wall fell, the idea that half of Europe was under this type of government in the modern age is something that needs remembering especially in the light of the move towards anger in politics.

The Artist of Eikando – Linda Lee Welch

Junko Bayliss doesn’t know who her parents were when they died, so decides to take a trip to visit Japan and try to find out their secrets. This is Japan through the view of the conquering USA, and seems an unlikely view. All needs for visas etc have been forgotten, and nearly every stranger Junko meets speaks fluent English and is very friendly to a foreigner.

The look at temple life and American war crimes was interesting though, and the underlying plot kept me reading right through to the unlikely ending.

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Our library summer challenge is to read a book from each continent and supply a 100 word review to the library. This has given me a bit of a framework to read in with a newborn baby (trying to make myself relax in his afternoon naps). So firstly Breakfast at Tiffany’s for North America. So in under 100 words:

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a novella bundled with three short stories. They all share a common theme of friendship in adversity, set in different parts of the world.

The title novella is a story about a woman who wants to be a free socialite and her friend in the apartment upstairs. We are given a tour of all that glitters in wartime New York City, in Holiday Golightly’s party apartment. But the world does judge her for “loose morals” and she seeks refuge in a friendship with the writer who lived upstairs.