Anyone for a take-away?: Aravind Adiga’s ‘The White Tiger’

My favourite bookshop in England is Barter Books in Alnwick, Northumberland (http://www.barterbooks.co.uk/). It is a magical emporium of second hand books, which are stashed in every nook and cranny of a converted railway station. My love for this shop may have something to do with the copy of Louis MacNeice’s poem, ‘Posterity’, emblazoned on one of the walls (!!!) and the lines from T.S. Eliot … Continue reading Anyone for a take-away?: Aravind Adiga’s ‘The White Tiger’

‘Neither East nor West’: Chicken Tikka in Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007)

As it often happens, it is not quite the best lines of poetry that are remembered in popular culture: rather, I sometimes think, the most awkward-sounding. Kipling’s phrases ‘East is East’ and ‘West is West’ (from ‘The Ballad of East and West’, 1899) have been heavily exploited over the years. Interestingly, the former phrase seems to have inspired a lot of restaurant owners across the … Continue reading ‘Neither East nor West’: Chicken Tikka in Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007)

Perfecting Pfannkuchen with Lauren Owen (The Quick, 2014)

Recipe When Nico and I decided to make pfannkuchen, I felt more than a little trepidation. Lauren’s characters eat tasty baked potatoes, dripping with melted butter, or they tuck into hearty winter soups. Although I could have produced a recipe for either of these with ease, Nico felt that was a little boring. So we choose pfannkuchen instead. There are two types of this German sweet – … Continue reading Perfecting Pfannkuchen with Lauren Owen (The Quick, 2014)

LitKit on the road: first stop, St Andrews

In 1988 Gill Fyffe gave birth to a daughter. Following complications, she was transfused with 4 units of blood. Although this was at the height of media frenzy about the dangers of contracting HIV, she was assured that the procedure would be safe. In 1995 the Blood Transfusion Service contacted her to inform her that the blood may have been contaminated. Gill was then diagnosed … Continue reading LitKit on the road: first stop, St Andrews

How to eat a pomegranate: Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner” (2003)

A few weeks ago, I ate my first pomegranate. The first task was to open it. After watching quite a few YouTube videos about how best to consume this tricky but delectable fruit (there seems to be a range of hotly-contested viewpoints on this topic amongst home videographers) I decided to defy those who advocated a more complex method. I took a risk and just … Continue reading How to eat a pomegranate: Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner” (2003)

Holes and histories: baguettes in Ciaran Carson’s ‘For All We Know’ (2008)

Belfast-born poet Ciaran Carson is one of the most accomplished wordsmiths to be found amongst the current generation of writers. Born in 1948, he has published over 29 volumes of poetry, prose and translations from Irish. Carson’s indefatigable flair for witty, convoluted, memorable story-telling is cemented in his 2008 volume, For All We Know. This is an absolutely beautiful and emotive novelistic sequence of not-quite-sonnets … Continue reading Holes and histories: baguettes in Ciaran Carson’s ‘For All We Know’ (2008)