Thursday, July 28, 2005

Of Clock-filled crocodiles and the reccos of fleas

With this week being as hectic as it has been, I’m amazed I had time to read anything that wasn’t college related. But I did, I read The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.
I liked it. Not too heavy, funny, touching, etc. Most of my reading is centred in Europe (yes, I’m very ashamed of this) so it feels refreshing to be reading something from somewhere else. Even if the author is English.

There’s the thing though. If I was reading this as an authentic account of life in Botswana, I’d probably be better off with a book by an author who was actually from the country. Luckily, all I’m really in it for is entertainment. And it’s charming.

“Charming”. It has always annoyed me the way books about Asian, African and South American countries are written in this charming, simple, childish style, somewhat akin to magical realism when you read it. (Though magical realism is not particularly simple or ‘childish’.) Try using that style on a book about the streets of London. (Hmm. That would make a pretty good book) Maybe I’m hyper sensitive, but it always seems patronising to me. With this book, though, I didn’t feel that. It was like he knew it was irritating, and was purposely mocking the style. Was he? I’m not smart enough to know.

But yes. It was a great read. I will read the other books in the series. And a big thankyou to Jai for the rec. (And no, the mention of Fleas in the title does not refer to him, but a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers who also liked this book)

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