Tag Archives: Tricycle Readers

Winter Mission

The evening started well with fizzy drinks and olives in the bar of a small London theatre reviving a play once describe as ‘elusive’.  On entering the auditorium the two old miseries sitting at the end of our row reading newspapers, refused to let us pass. “You’re sitting in the middle. Enter from the other side,” […]

Face Values

On Monday, Tricycle Readers analysed a story by Salman Rushdie. After the reading, one of the group admitted she’d struggled to listen because she doesn’t like Rushdie: ‘He has a mean face. He doesn’t look a nice man’.  I was taken aback but not in a position to challenge her as, the previous night in […]

Heavens Forfend

Was my mother a robber in a past life? We grappled with this notion during a debate over lunch on the difference between destiny and karma.  I say they are polar opposites. Destiny is a belief in inevitability, in a grand scheme. Karma on the other hand, is a cycle of cause and effect: good […]

Water water everywhere

Water water everywhere nor any drop to drink…  It’s been a bit like the Rime of the Ancient Mariner in our house this week – outside is puddled and muddy and inside the water’s switched off. The Ancient Mariner is a hoary old sailor whose ship is cursed after he shoots dead an albatross. His […]

Thinking Allowed

Last Wednesday I had lunch with the novelist Wendy Perriam whose current project is a book of short stories, Bad Mothers Brilliant Lovers. Wendy is a planner. The stories she tells have been mulling in her head, each twist meticulously mapped, before a word is written. It was her planning that led us to meet: […]

Our Tryst with Destiny

Walking through Central London last night, with many buildings in darkness commemorating the lamps going out all over Europe in 1914, I thought about the power of single lines. Consider: Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country (Kennedy); I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, […]

Coffee and Courtship

I am jealous of people who can devour novels while managing busy lives. I struggle. It’s one of the reasons I favour the short story – it’s a quick fix, the double espresso of literature. Novels are a relationship. They demand commitment. That’s a big ask when life is going past in a blur. My solution is […]

The long and short of things…

Yesterday’s literary kerfuffle centred on the Man Booker Prize shortlist. There are only three women on the shortlist of 13 authors. Equally perplexing is the lack of writers from the Commonwealth. Just one squeezes through. What’s going on? The Booker has historically been for writers from the Commonwealth and Ireland. As well as the best […]

Unbuttoning the bad news

This afternoon, I’m going to the funeral of a dear friend. Her death last week was unexpected and everyone’s in shock, but it was hardly a surprise when death is an inevitability of life. Why then do so many people search for euphemisms around the subject: she passed away or passed over, has gone, has left […]

Big Words

I love learning new words even though, as I get older, I find I often can’t remember the most commonplace words. Recently, unable to name the table, I asked my daughter to put my bag on ‘that thing over there with four legs.’ It’s odd, isn’t it, how sometimes even simple language is hard to […]