Things That Are Making Me Happy This Week

01. Got to Bonnard in the nick of time. Apparently India Mahdavi’s exhibition design was a little much for the traditionalists but I thought it was outstandingly beautiful. I loved the wallpapers. I loved how the each space drew you into the next. I loved all the colour. Continue reading

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

My usual policy is not to spend too much time on reviewing books that have a squillion reviews on Goodreads. So, if you want the nitty-gritty on Dodie Smith’s classic, I Capture the Castle, head over there to browse the 10,000+ reviews.

And instead of a review, I’ll share quotes that relate to the themes I enjoyed most about this novel: Continue reading

Temper by Phoebe Walker

A few years ago, a friend asked me if I had any regrets. It was obviously a deep question but the fact that one thing came to mind immediately felt telling. And that one thing was that I’d not had the opportunity to live and work in another country. Pre-children, my husband and I had plans to do so, but 9/11 happened, which put an end to his company allowing secondments. Since that time, his work has bound him to Melbourne. But the regret, if you would call it that, was still there and so I’m hatching a plan for the future – it involves a sabbatical year in Germany, some study at a language school and a forest therapy course.

I was thinking about that plan when I read Phoebe Walker’s novella, Temper. The story follows an unnamed narrator over the course of a year, having moved from London to the Netherlands. The narrator’s partner works for a large multi-national organisation and his time in their new city is quickly furnished with after-work drinks and social gatherings with coworkers. The narrator, a freelance writer, spends her days in their flat and her few interactions are incidental (buying groceries or visiting the swimming pool). She feels on the periphery, never finding her place in her new home. Continue reading

I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel

You know that situation where a friend is in a ‘relationship’ (and I use that term loosely) with someone totally unsuitable, and you know that that person will never, ever commit to your friend? And until your friend realises the same thing, you will hear about the highs and lows; and for a while participate in interpreting every text message, promise made, and length of a silence, until you want to scream ‘THEY’RE NOT INTO YOU!”

I take it as a sign. He says this to me occasionally, peering at a future from a safe distance but leaves me squinting toward the horizon unsure if the shimmer is water or a mirage.

Sheena Patel’s novel, I’m a Fan, is the book version of watching that friend, with a little extra. It opens with a ripping line –

I stalk a woman on the internet who is sleeping with the same man as I am. Continue reading