Copper Lace

Monday, 28 September 2015

Lace top: Silence + Noise, Urban Outfitters
Skirt: H&M
Boots: H&M

I'm not a huge Autumn fan. I'm not one of those girls who looks great with loads of chic layers. And with the warm weather we've been having, thinking Autumnally has been a bit difficult, when the skies are brilliant blue and the sun is shining down on us. My nod to Autumn this weekend gone, for a trip to Dishoom and gelato in central London, was with shades of copper and brown, and inspired by Kylie Jenner, I'm even wearing brown lipstick. Haven't done that since I was a teenager too.

Recently Reading: The Thing Around Your Neck

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

This was my introduction to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's writing. I'd heard Bey feature her Ted talk 'We should all be Feminists' on Flawless of course, and seen countless instagram pics of her books Half A Yellow Sun and Americanah (now on my to-read list), but I'd never actually read any of her work. Sytlist Magazine's recent book issue featured The Thing Around Your Neck in their pick of short story collections and said 'Adichie's is an important voice and we want to hear it again and again'. Adichie was the only writer on the list of 100 holiday reads to be featured twice; they love her that much.

And now I can see why. The quote on the cover from the Telegraph 'She makes storyelling seem as easy as birdsong' could not be more accurate, Adichie weaves authentic tales using such lyrical language that stories flow effortlessly. Settings, whether in the city of Lagos, suburbs of America or rural Nigerian towns are painted vividly in this collection of short stories which largely feature female protagonists. It was a delight to feel the strong sense of Nigerian identity that ran through all the stories for example through mentions of different Nigerian languages and customs, whether the stories were set there or in the States. The different facets of the immigrant experience are explored throroughly, from the expectations of family and the presumed grattitude one must exhibit for the help with a visa to trying to find African food or black hairdressers in white neighbourhoods.

Stories of war and homosexuality are handled as delicately as adultery. Adichie's characters are imbued with a subtle intelligence and the only flaw I could find is that although all very different, I found the women mostly to be passive until the very last story, The Headstrong Historian, which featured two strong women, Nwamgba and her grand daughter Grace/Afamefuna.

Divides in Nigeria due to class or education were interesting to discover and having not read much literature by African writers, The Thing Around Your Neck was a polished intorduction. I can't wait to read more of Adichie's work.

Recently Reading: The Hand That Feeds You

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

I was disappointed by this thriller from pretty much the first page unfortunately.
Written as a collaboration between two writers, Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment under the name A J Rich, a lot of the inspiration came from a third writer friend, but unfortunately the blended writing meant that at times it felt distinctly written by different people and neither writer went quite deep enough.

The book opens with 30 year old Morgan Prager who is styudying victimology, who comes home to find her fiancee Bennett unrecognisable, completely mauled by her dogs and very, very dead. Morgan has a soft spot for dogs and her adopted dog Cloud and two fostered pit bulls are covered in blood...when law enforcement eventually arrives, one dog is killed immediately and the other two taken away as dangerous dogs. Morgan is devastated at this multiple loss, but when she tries to notify Bennett's parents she can't find them...the further she looks into the man she thought she knew the more she realises she didn't know him at all. Although, for Morgan this is given weight by the fact that she always goes for unsuitable guys, it just didn't ring true for me. Who in this day and age never meets their partners friends and family, goes to their house or workplace, has them meet the important people in their life and yet says yes to a diamond ring and a wedding? The fact that as Morgan researches further, more women who have had the exact same fake relationship are uncovered rings so false to me. I mean, really? What kinda woman? I just couldn't buy it.

Impeccably researched, I found the information about dog breeds, the process of looking after or fighting for a dangerous dog and also the theories around victims and sociopaths incredibly researched and this is where the book is strongest. Unfortunately, the character of Morgan is not fleshed out enough and as it is a first person narration there never seems to be enough depth to her thoughts or feelings to make us really care about her or to differentiate between the telling of the banal details. It is revealed that Morgan was raped as a young woman with the exact same tone as she would describe doing her shopping or hacking her ex lovers email account. This also hinders the build up of suspense, crucial to a thriller like this. I worked out the killer around 50 pages before the end, which was a definite anti-climax.

All in all, it's not too thrilling when you care more about the dogs than their owner.