The more perceptive of you might have noticed that Autumn has hit the UK with the full force of a drunken lout running straight into the window of a kebab shop. #winteriscoming, readers, and I am woefully unprepared for it. The sudden change in temperature has left me wondering where my jumpers are (answer: in storage in Edinburgh), why I only seem to have one glove out of every pair (answer: pathological idiocy) and why oh why I moved back to Europe (answer: lunacy).
Thankfully the season does have its charms. We tried to light a fire in the chimney a few days ago, which was wonderfully atmospheric and comforting for the three and a half minutes it lasted. Basic survival skills: we r doin it rong. When all else fails, I say, retreat to the duvet with a hot water bottle and a pile of books. Here are my autumn reads:
What I did, by Christopher Wakling
The adult world fraying at the seams seen from the point of view of 6 year old Billy. The narrative device could have been cloying, but the author, whose sage advice I was lucky to receive on the Curtis Brown Creative course I attended earlier this year, handled it deftly and with a brutal commitment that left me on the edge of my seat. There are also some great stories and drawings on Billy’s blog.
Verre Cassé, by Alain Mabanckou
I tried to read this in English and gave up miserably after the first few pages. The version originale is riotous and unrelenting, a vision of a Congo broken and exultant, grotesque and heartbreaking.
L’Homme à l’envers, by Fred Vargas
Fred Vargas is my literary crush of 2012. I inhaled all of her books in the space of a few obsessive weeks. This is crime writing at its most poetic and subtle. Commissaire Adamsberg solves crimes by taking long walks and observing seagulls, and in this chapter of his adventures he tracks a werewolf through the French wilderness. Eternal thanks to Emma for introducing me to the series. In English here.
The Pale King, by David Foster Wallace
I’ve just started reading this but I am already enthralled by the writing, its buoyancy and radiance. I am forcing myself to read this slowly and to savour every page. I want to lie my head on its shoulder and let it lull me into peacefulness.