Lights Fantastic

Light matters. This is the first discovery on moving our Tricycle Readers meetings to evenings. It’s easy to follow a story on the page when a room is flooded with natural light, but electric lights cast shadows and create dark patches. Having struggled a  little with Kazoo Ishiguro last Monday, this week I set our tables directly under a row of spots so we could all follow the text without squinting!

Our short story, Road Kill, came from the New Yorker magazine, a superb tale from Romesh Gunesekara on the aftermath of civil war, told through the eyes of a Sri Lankan driver who takes a young couple to an hotel in the still ravaged north of the island. When the hotel manager, a compelling and strangely blank young woman, kills a rat in the restaurant with an elegantly aimed beer bottle, the driver is made acutely aware that the legacy within those who lived and fought through the strife is far more complex than he wants to believe.

As ever, the debate in the room moved across the individual strands. We discussed the way writers use the metaphor of roads to depict the unknown, and the way Gunesekara’s characters embody the very different experiences of the two sides. There is an internal debate about national healing: is it better to know everything, or to forget everything? What about the woman whose role in events has been outside gender norms. How is that reflected in her responses?

Under the bright spotlights in the Tricycle Theatre’s Paintbox space we shone our own light onto the work and after a lively exchange moved on to our poem the classic The Farmer’s Bride by Charlotte Mew – you can find links to all our reading in Group Texts. We were lucky to have with us Julia Copus, a celebrated poet who mentors me in my role as a ‘lector’. Julia is currently researching Mew’s life. Her interjections were fantastically illuminating, so we had layers of brightness across the night!

Why not join us?  Tricycle Readers is held on Monday nights at 6.30pm.  Email for details.

From the New Yorker

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