On relationships: “What we hold on to is fear, not love” ‒ Days Like This by Jeanette Winterson in Stylist Magazine

A beautiful short story that made me think that in personal relationships, remembering to appreciate the present moment is key

Collectors Edition: The Literature Issue

Collectors Edition: The Literature Issue

I’ve been meaning to link to this for ages – a short story by Jeanette Winterson, in the 26th June issue of Stylist, the ‘freemium’ mag handed out on Tuesdays/Wednesday.

For all its obsession with fashion and shoes/bags/makeup/objects I wouldn’t buy even if I could afford them (depressing to know even good women’s magazines can’t seem to make ends meet without this), Stylist is also a reliable and regular source of that rare thing: a genuinely good feature.

None more so than this short story, which was part of the magazine’s “The literature special” (which asked writers to contribute a short story inspired by a perfume). It perfectly encapsulates and assuages some of my deepest fears about relationships – namely, that for every beautiful moment, there’s a niggling feeling that it could all end tomorrow. That’s not a reflection of my relationship – by definition, that’s just what’s always happened to me so far. Experience, if you like.

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Book Review: Half The Human Race by Anthony Quinn

Half the Human Race, by Anthony Quinn

Half the Human Race, by Anthony Quinn

Set against the eventful years both pre-and-post World War One, this story of personal and public struggle, tender love and political upheaval touches upon many issues of gender, relationships, loneliness and standing up for what you believe in, while also providing a gentle, compelling and absorbing read.

It’s not the most incisive of books on the subject of the suffragettes, and the story’s strength fades out towards the end, but Quinn’s vivid descriptions of such varied settings as central London, Holloway prison, Paris, the Western front and the traditional British country house, as well as his deep ability to portray humanity and inner conflict, make Quinn’s characters memorably and convincingly real.

In fact, the characters’ believability is the best part of the book.

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Book Review: The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveller's Wife, book cover

The mysterious and touching front cover of one of my favourite books of all time

It’s not new, it’s not newsworthy, and its popularity is hardly disputed, having been made into a fairly mediocre film starring the usually better-than-mediocre Rachel McAdams and lovely-to-look at but mostly mediocre Eric Bana. But this rates as one of my all-time favourite books, and a blog which is truly mine must therefore make a least a cursory mention of Niffenegger’s treatise on beauty and eloquence. This review is purposefully under 100 words long, but I appear to making up for such uncharacteristic brevity with this wholly more representative ‘introductory’ spiel. Apologies. You can read the review now…

The Time Traveler's Wife

The much less accomplished, yet undeniably sexy, film adaptation stars Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana as Clare and Henry

Henry suffers from a genetic condition that makes him time travel without warning, ping-ponging him involuntarily through life. Claire is the long-suffering, red-headed beauty who stays behind, her entire life inextricably intertwined with his as she tries to maintain some semblance of normality. At times gentle and touching, at others violent, sexy, unpredictable and heart-wrenchingly sad, Niffenegger’s vivid descriptions and expertly paced prose craft this masterpiece of a novel, which asks haunting questions about time, fate, family, heartbreak, and the enduring power of love. Believable, original and breathtakingly compelling, The Time Traveller’s Wife is an absolute must-read.