A quote from “We All Die in the End”

And I felt a lurch in my stomach as I spoke. People always think they feel things in their hearts, but they don’t – it’s all in the stomach. On Valentine’s Day there should be big red stomachs hanging up in shops, and the cards should say – you are my sweet-stomach, my stomach is all yours, and stuff like that.

The Small Dark Man – a poem

A rattle of keys at the back door

We waited – wary

His face shut tight against us

Like a fist

Toed-in, he crouched over furtive whiskeys

Fingers curled

Over chin and cigarette

And we ghosted from the room

With nervous grins

But once he showed me Dickens

And Maurice Walsh

And he was The Small Dark Man

Alone in a house of women

Cut off by his country voice

From the town

Squeezing memories

From an old melodeon

Sometimes – surprised

His face would lift with love

And fall again

Now I surprise myself

Toed-in, crouched over flagrant whiskeys

Fingers curled over chin and cigarette

And I have to leave the room.

Melanie – a poem

Tinted warm by rose and amber light

Melanie smiles and pouts her painted mouth

Exotic spider, webbed in scarlet silk

She wears the face of Venus, Helen, Circe

Drawing one-hour lovers to extol her grace

And wit. She lends her body, listens, comforts

Promises a paradise of lust

The door lets in the shocking light of day

Melanie leaves, her pockets full of gold

Her eyes are clean and cold and bold

And know the secrets of the world.

A Review of “Keep Your Eyes on Me” by Sam Blake

I love a good thriller and “Keep Your Eyes on Me” doesn’t disappoint. It truly is a page-turner. The premise is based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel – Strangers on a Train, and of course, Hitchcock’s movie of the same name. However, that doesn’t take away from this novel. The two protagonists are women, two very different women, but equally determined to avenge the wrongdoers.

Lily and Vittoria meet in a waiting lounge in an airport and before long they get into conversation, becoming more and more intimate as time passes. Lily tells Vittoria about how her brother, Jack, was taken advantage of in a card game; he has lost the family shop to a man with a suspicious history in the Art business. Why would he want Jack and Lily’s shop? Was he dealing drugs? Laundering money? Or what? And Vittoria – she is tied up in a prenuptial agreement with her unfaithful husband and would do anything to get out of it before she is left with nothing.

Lily is the softer of the two, more worried about her brother than anything. Vittoria is tougher, and it is she who works out the plan of revenge. At this point the reader is fully involved and reading quickly; the tension makes it hard to put it down. You know there is more going on than you’re aware of – something devious at the back of everything but what could it be?

The prose is straightforward, without fluff or padding; the dialogue is terrific; the plot ingenious and the characters believable. And the ending – it’s ambiguous, and all the better for it!

It took me a couple of chapters to get really into this book but apart from that it’s terrific and I am happily giving it 4.5 stars.

10 movies/series as good as, if not better than the books.

  1. Death in Venice – I read the short story, but oh, that wonderful movie!
  2. Gone with the wind – again, unforgettable movie.
  3. The Godfather – I read the book decades of years ago. I couldn’t read it now but the movie is still terrific.
  4. The Forsyte Saga: I have this (in three volumes) three times over the years, but I have to admit that the very first series, with Eric Porter as Soames, was tremendous.
  5. Brideshead Revisited – who could forget that wonderful series, so rich and deep and colourful, every character perfect.
  6. A Room with a View. I have read all of E M Forster’s books, and I have seen the movies but this one in particular is an absolute joy and delight.
  7. Misery. I find it almost impossible to read Stephen King – he’s too much for me – but Misery was a great movie – I’ve never trusted Cathy Bates since!
  8. The Shining – again a great movie. Who could ever forget Jack Nicholson?
  9. The Shawshank Redemption. I think I’ve seen it three times, I’ve only read the short story once.
  10. Brokeback Mountain. When I first read this book, I thought it was the loving-est love story I had ever read and I made everyone I knew read it too. I worried about a movie coming out but it was great, the two guys were marvelous and it looked lovely too.

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Real Neat Blog Award

I have been nominated by Carll @ The Pine-Scented Chronicles for this award. Here are the rules:

Put the award logo on your blog.

Answer the 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.

Nominate any number of people linking to their blogs and let them know you nominated them by commenting on their blogs.

Come up with 7 questions for the people you nominated.

So here are my answers to Carll’s questions:

Tell me more about your blog; what motivated you to start?

Two things: First, I had just published a book myself on Amazon Kindle and wanted to post excerpts from it on a blog. And secondly, I was tired of creative writing and thought I would post some poems I wrote a long time ago, and also write reviews of other books – which I love doing.

What inspires you to keep on blogging or writing?

I’m enjoying the process; I love to comment on other blogs; talking about books and writing is such fun.

Off the blogs you’ve written, which do you like the best?

I think I like best the review of Patrick de Witt’s first novel “Ablutions” because I love the book so much.

What book or movie best depicts your life?

Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac. She had a very strict father!

How are you coping with lock down?

I hate when all the shops are shut – it reminds me of Sundays long ago.

What three things have I learned during lock down?

I live alone and I love it, and during these days I’m very happy to have an excuse to spend more time alone. I hate wearing a mask – it steams up my glasses. There are two kinds of people – those who follow the social distance rule, and those who won’t.

Give one piece of advice to those who would like to begin a blog of their own.

Have everything clear in your mind; what you want to blog about, how often you want to do it, and learn from those you are following.

Thanks Carll @ The Pine-Scented Chronicles for the nomination, I appreciate it; it’s a real fun thing to do.

My nominees are:

The Travellothoner @ Bombay Ficus

João-Maria @ (CALIATH)

Jan Paul @ J. P. D. T.

Island Traveller @ This Man’s Journey

Sarvagya @ Desproticar

My questions:

  1. How much time to you spend blogging every day or week?
  2. How many bloggers do you follow?
  3. Have you more time to blog during lock down?
  4. Do you have a long list of books to read, music to hear, blogs to write?
  5. Who is your absolute favourite author/musician?
  6. Do you feel under pressure to blog, or write, or review, or read?
  7. Do you really enjoy blogging?

I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did.