Monthly Archives: September 2021

Mariama Ba – So Long a Letter

Ramatoulaye and Aissatou have been friends since childhood.

Your presence in my life is by no means fortuitous. Our grandmothers in their compounds were separated by a fence and would exchange messages daily. Our mothers used to argue over who would look after our uncles and aunts. As for us, we wore out wrappers and sandals on the same stony road to the koranic school; we buried out milk teeth in the same holes and begged our fairy godmothers to restore the to us, more splendid than before. Continue reading Mariama Ba – So Long a Letter


Having written a novel, The Master, based on several years in the life of Henry James, Colm Tóibín has now written a book based on the life of Thomas Mann, the German writer. The Magician takes its title from the name Mann’s children gave him, for his love of doing magic tricks to amuse small children.  Being the Mann family, though, it wasn’t an altogether affectionate term; there was some element of denigration about it. Never was there a family with so much rivalry. Brother against brother, sister against brother, child against father. So the name The Magician, has elements of ‘You think you are a magician, above all the rest of us, but we know what you really are.’ Continue reading COLM TÓIBÍN -THE MAGICIAN

Jean-Phillipe Blondel – Exposed

Louis Claret is a high school teacher, coming to the end of his career. He is fifty-eight but seems to be embracing old age. His marriage is over, his daughters are embarked on their own lives, he lives alone, not reading much, just embracing nothingness. But when we meet him, he is at a gallery opening, an exhibition of the work of a former student. As he says,

I didn’t belong there. Continue reading Jean-Phillipe Blondel – Exposed