Celebration for my father

My father died back in May 2022. Not from Covid. He spent his last few days in a care home next to my mother. He did not want a funeral so we did not have a “wake” or anything like that. However, my sisters decided to hold a birthday party for him on 27th August when he would have been 92. So we all got together for a wee drink and eat, looked at photos of him in his National Service uniform, wedding photo, an anniversary photo and other with various children, grandchildren and great grandchild. I’ve posted some of my photo’s with him below.

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The Khan – a book

The KhanThe Khan by Saima Mir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a well-told thriller with compelling characters, strong writing and a great sense of place and atmosphere. But, it runs out of steam a bit towards the end.

Perhaps the issue of concern is about the moral ambiguity of the family, and particularly the woman, at the centre of the narrative. Jia Khan is the potential heir of a powerful crime family, and the meat of the novel is based in the ethical dilemmas (familial, romantic, political, religious, cultural) around the place of this family in the world. It is unusual perspective, and Jia is an unusual protagonist, and not always a sympathetic one. In many ways the narrative is cold and distant, dissipating the tension that is sometimes present in the plot.

I loved the sense of place and culture that Mir creates – it’s a book steeped in Muslim traditions, British-Asian traditions, Pukhtun traditions, Bradford traditions, although Bradford is not specifically mentioned in the plot. The attitudes to race, ethnicity, religion and gender are satisfyingly deep and complex.


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Aether Chronicles – Book 3

Speed (Aether Chronicles, #3)Speed by Abi Barden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This appears to be a mid-series book: established characters, plot development, new questions and a great cliffhanger. Iā€™m thoroughly invested in the adventure. It is full of questions and uncertainty. It also requires a good proof reader as there are some errors in the text but, not enough to spoil my enjoyment.

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Spinning Silver – a book

Spinning SilverSpinning Silver by Naomi Novik
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Novik introduces three female protagonists in this book without much preamble and keeps moving between them in a confusing way. I was never quite sure which of the three characters I was reading about.
It is based in a realm of magic and mysticism, of cruelty and heartbreak, fringed with glittering ice and populated with creatures carved from the wildest corners of the imagination. The initial chapters titillate with high stakes, compelling characters, and enchanting descriptions of warm food and a forest cloaked in snow, but the narrative is soon bogged down.

Two of the female protagonists having such similar plot lines as to feel redundant.

The final nail in the coffin – or icicle in the heart – is the inclusion of multiple POVs. Novik opens with two primary voices, but more characters are introduced as the story progresses. A change in POV is indicated by an icon of a spinning wheel, but the speaker is not identified and new character voices are dropped without preamble. Not only does this create extra work and confusion, Novik elects to recount scenes from varied perspectives, resulting in even more redundancy.

Spinning Silver holds all the ingredients of a magic spell, but the execution leaves one cold and unsatisfied.

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Messiness #6

When is a resignation speech not a resignation? When it’s given by Boris Johnson. All the media yesterday were going on about his resignation but, he did not use the word resignation in his statement. Nor did he use the phrase “standing aside”.

What he actually said as: “It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new prime minister.” That is neither of the above. He goes on to say: “And I’ve today appointed a Cabinet to serve, as I will, until a new leader is in place.” He hasn’t resigned and he hasn’t left office. He is going to carry on.

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