And the Agatha Christie challenge continues. I’ve now read twenty five of the detective novels all in order of publication – it should be twenty six but one is out of print and I can’t track down a copy. This looks impressive until you realise that I’m only in 1936 (she was first published in the UK right up until 1976 – with a couple of collections not published until the 1990s) and I’ve still got fifty nine books to go.
I am reading other books as well, one is Debi Alper’s Trading Tatiana. Like Debi’s previous book, Nirvana Bites, this book is set in South London and its full of local colour and we do end up back at the Nirvana Housing Co-Op, which is wonderful. The book is fast and furious, Debi has a great sense of humour, the scene where Jo first meet’s Bare Botty Man’s botty (you have to read this) is wonderful. What is also fantastic is that, as anyone whose met Debi or has read her blog knows, she has a very strong sense of social justice which comes across in this novel. If you can get your hands on a copy of this and read it, do, you will be entertained, terrified and ultimately moved.
This is an amazing book, part fact, part fiction, although the two are woven together so closely that it is hard to see where one begins and the other ends. Richard Zimler had a chance encounter with Sana at the Perth Writers’ Festival, autographing a copy of his first book The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon for her. The next day Sana committed suicide, an act witnessed by Zimler, and he is propelled into an obssessive investigation of her life in order to try to understand why. He uncovers the story of Sana’s friendship with Helena, a remarkable relationship which endures across the divide – Sana is a Palestinian and Helena an Israeli Jew – a relationship which opens the book up into an exploration of the personal issues at the heart of the conflict and atrocities, big and small, committed on a daily basis in the name of politics and religion. I couldn’t put this amazing book down and ended up reading it in one sitting.