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

Sample Saturday – three from the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2023 longlist

Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye. This week, all three are from the recently announced Women’s Prize for Fiction 2023 longlist. Continue reading

Things That Are Making Me Happy This Week

01. Best night at the Wheeler Centre seeing Sloane Crosley. She talked about writing both fiction and nonfiction, noting that “In complimenting fiction, people say ‘It’s so believable, so realistic’ but in complimenting memoir they say ‘It’s unbelievable!’”. Plus I was thrilled to hear that there’s a movie script for Cult Classic underway, and that her new work of narrative nonfiction focuses on grief (Grief is for People, out next year). Continue reading

Things That Are Making Me Happy This Week

01. I did a group forest therapy session this week (and dragged a friend along with me) – lots of mindfulness and tree-hugging, but my favourite bit was the time spent creating an ‘artwork’ from things found on the ground. I noticed afterwards, how wholly absorbed I was in the task of arranging the leaves I’d collected. Truly therapeutic. Continue reading

Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

Trigger warning: miscarriage and death of a child.

One thing that I have observed in my counselling work is that the grief associated with the death of a child is unfathomable, and that it changes families (for generations) in a way that is also unfathomable.

Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ is a deeply tragic story, which examines the yearning and grief experienced by Yejide and her husband, Akin.

I was not strong enough to love when I could lose again, so I held her loosely, with little hope, sure that somehow she too would manage to slip from my grasp. Continue reading