Reading Recovery

Published in the year of his death from cancer, Henning Mankell’s After the Fire is a slow examination of a seventy-year-old’s confrontation with solitude and loss.  The protagonist, a retired doctor,  lives in a archipelago being visited by an arsonist, and we begin at the site of the first fire. Finding the arsonist is relegated to…

Drinking Chocolate, Verb & Noun

  Let me try to describe it.  You open your mouth to take a taste, but it is like swallowing a thick river.  Then you remember to sip, and the maneuver works.  It is chocolate, but more so, in a cafe crowded for the weather, customers lined up for “hugs in mugs” ( TM) and hot…

Another circle, another fan

This time in my aunt’s house, in Chennai.  Can time be measured in circling ceiling fans, beating back the heat?  In the afternoons, perhaps, but mornings, papers rustle, the breeze cool.  It’s been almost ten years since I’ve been here last.  The family has gotten smaller, and grief leaks.  My father; my uncle.  Meals are served,…

Unpacked, Mostly, with Some Photographs

There is an essay by Natalia Ginzberg in which she writes about disliking summer: the heat, the crowds.  I felt a kinship immediately.  Summer for me is the cool shade, sipping cold drinks, and reading.  It is seeing the sea in the mist, the sharp clarity of mountain air.  And it is vacation to other…