Friday, 4 April 2014

Cooking, Burial Rites and daffodils

Today is a day when hiding away in my study is preferable to being in the kitchen. We have guests coming to morrow for a meal, and preparing for six over three or four courses is not something that happens easily in this house. I have friends who cater for ten or more without turning a hair because they've grown up with large families - or they love cooking - but my culinary skills have been for a max of two most of the time. Therefore knowing how many potatoes or carrots six people will eat is a nightmare of guesswork for me. Quite often tempers flare....

On another subject I listened to Hannah Kent  talk about her book Burial Rites last night at the Forum Bookshop in Corbridge. I first heard about this from Helen in Australia, last year, I think, (Hi Helen!) but I still haven't read it. The subject matter intrigues me, but I pull away from depressing subjects, and the story of a woman who is beheaded for murder can't be other than depressing. The reading last night was short, but full of misery, which confirmed my feelings! There is enough misery in the world without giving myself bad dreams by reading about it.

However, it was a joy to listen to Hannah, who is 28 - young, personable and super articulate. Her stories of her time in Iceland and subsequently writing the book were full of fun even though the events didn't sound as if they were much fun at the time. I did wonder if writing such a depressing story had any sort of effect upon Hannah herself, but didn't ask the question. I should have done. She "lived with" the story for eleven years from first hearing about it to finishing the book. As with many stories of debut publishers and bestsellers, she admits to a lot of luck in finally reaching the goal of publication.

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