Place in Mystery Fiction: It Is Everything

Self is closing out 2017 with Tana French, and she is also reading Kelly Creighton’s Bank Hurricane Holiday, a super short story collection set in Northern Ireland.

Place is everything in the writing of these two women. She isn’t finished yet with Creighton’s book (just out from Doire Press) but she finished her first Tana French, earlier today: Broken Harbor. And she’s just started reading The Trespasser.

She’s very late in coming to Tana French, but why. She’s been coming to Ireland for years, if she’d had enough sense, she would have read Ms. French years ago.

Self loves mysteries. She especially loves the mysteries of: Henning Mankell, Morag Joss (only one book), Ruth Rendell, and Karin Fossum.

She thinks her love of mysteries in foreign landscapes began with Peter Hoeg’s mesmerizing Smilla’s Sense of Snow. (And now she writes dystopian fantasy set in snowy landscapes, what a coincidence)

p. 4, The Trespasser:

  • Murder works out of the grounds of Dublin Castle, smack in the heart of town, but our building is tucked away a few corners from the fancy stuff the tourists come to see, and our walls are thick; even the early morning traffic out on Dame Street only makes it through to us as a soft, undemanding hum.

Who doesn’t know Dublin Castle. Tourist mecca. Now, in her mind, Dublin Castle is the home of the Dublin Murder Squad. Love.

On to p. 5.

Stay tuned.

 

 

#amreading: Kelly Creighton

My mother wants a girl, I said, but I know it’s a boy, all the trouble he’s given me.

— “Bank Holiday Hurricane,” the title story of Kelly Creighton’s short story collection

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Fifth From the Annaghmakerrig Book: Anne Haverty

I used to be quite a normal fellow.

— from One Day As a Tiger by Anne Haverty

#amreading Travel Writing: Lawrence Durrell on Alexandria

Going ashore in Alexandria is like walking the plank for instantly you feel, not only the plangently Greek city rising before you, but its backcloth of deserts stretching away into the heart of Africa. It is a place for dramatic partings, irrevocable decisions, last thoughts; everyone feels pushed to the extreme, to the end of his bent. People become monks or nuns or voluptuaries or solitaries without a word of warning. As many people simply disappear as overtly die here. The city does nothing.

— Lawrence Durrell in An Alexandria Anthology: Travel Writing Through the Centuries, edited by Michael Haag (Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press)

Third From the Annaghmakerrig Book: Anne Enright

As soon as I walked in, I knew he wanted to touch it.

— Excerpt from Shaft, by Anne Enright

Peeking in Cork, Republic of Ireland

All the below pictures are from this morning. Self walked around Lancaster and Wandesford Quays, then headed to the English Market.

It was cold!

She attended mass, too.

Last time she was in Cork, she bought a book, Priests and People in Ireland, that she could not fit in her suitcase. So she left it in Paradiso. And here it is!

She took all these ‘peeks’ this morning.

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Paradiso, November 2017

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Heading out for a walk

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Found this book in Travellers Bookshop, which is just across the street

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: DO NO HARM, by Henry Marsh

Self is behind her Goodreads reading challenge: she set herself a challenge of reading 30 books in 2017. So far, she’s read 22.

Of the books she’s read so far in 2017, her favorites are:

  • Waterloo, the History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles, by Bernard Cornwall (read in August)
  • Barbarian Days, by New Yorker writer and avid ex-surfer William Finnegan (started mid-June, finished mid-July)
  • This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison (read this in the first half of June)
  • The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, by Rinker Buck (read this in May, in — of all places — Paris)
  • Montcalm and Wolfe: The Decline and Fall of the French Empire in North America, by Francis Parkman (started mid-February, finished a month later)

The book she is currently reading, Do No Harm, by English neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, is pretty fascinating and may well move into her list of favorites by the time she’s finished. It’s her first medical memoir in a long time. She used to read nothing but: Atul Gawande, Jeremy Toobin, Oliver Sacks, Irwin Yalom, Abraham Verghese, Jerome Groopman. Her interest in this field started in 1991, when her only sister passed away suddenly in a New York hospital on the Upper East Side, Lenox Hill.

Marsh is very, very good at describing not just the technical aspects of brain surgery, but the emotional aspects as well:

“Anxiety might be contagious, but confidence is also contagious, and as I walked to the hospital car park I felt buoyed up by my patients’ trust.” — pp. 22 – 23

 

#amreading: SOLARIS, by Stanislaw Lem

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Stanislaw Lem was self’s first science fiction. She stumbled across it in a bookstore on Harvard Square. This translation (from the French) was by Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox.

Opening page:

At 19:00, ship’s time, I made my way to the launching bay. The men around the shaft stood aside to let me pass, and I climbed down into the capsule.

Inside the narrow cockpit, there was scarcely room to move. I attached the hose to the valve on my spacesuit and it inflated rapidly. From then on, I was incapable of making the smallest movement. There I stood, or rather hung suspended, enveloped in my pneumatic suit and yoke to the metal hull.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

#amreading Favorite Childhood Book: MISCHIEF IN FEZ, by Eleanor Hoffmann

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While the story-teller’s assistants still beat tom-tom and tambourine to attract listeners, the story-teller himself was looking slyly about to size up the prosperity and generosity of his audience. At last he stood up. The tom-toms rose to final fury, then stopped suddenly.

“One night among nights,” began the storyteller, and the circle became a pool of quiet in the noisy market place. Beggars and judges’ sons leaned forward with equal eagerness.

Mischief in Fez, Chapter 1 (The Household of Muhammed Ali) by Eleanor Hoffmann

Alexandria, City of Memory: C. P. Cafavy, “In the Evening”

I picked up a letter again,
read it over and over till the light faded.

Then, sad, I went out on the balcony,
went out to change my thoughts at least by seeing
something of this city I love,
a little movement in the streets, in the shops.

(1916)

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