Vernicious Knids

Random musings and snapshots about life, love, travel and everything in between...

Monday, October 30, 2006

It began with an orange...

"Oranges were scarce; we'd only tasted them occasionally. On the market in Angers we might see them sometimes: fat Spanish oranges with their thick dimpled rind; finer-grained blood oranges from the South, cut open to reveal their grazed purple flesh..." (Harris, 2002:37)
Lush and evocative lyricism is used to breathtaking effect in Five Quarters of the Orange - itself a mystical and intriguing title! Framboise Simon returns to the small village she grew up in during the German occupation to find that all is not as she remembers.
"A couple of days later, at Dadi's house, the Starched Aunts entered the room and I said, 'At last! The tarts are here.' I was referring to the lemon tarts which Dadi's bearer wheeled in on the tea-trolley, just after the aunts entered, but it was an inauspicious start to the evening, nonetheless." (Shamsie, 2001:123)
A delightfully absurd, laugh inducing read set in inner city London and Pakistan. The complicated family tree of the Dard-e-Dils and their predilection for storytelling and producing "not-quite twins" mixes nicely with a potentially scandalous romance.
"Once every few years, even now, I catch the scent of Africa...Ripe fruits, acrid sweat, urine, flowers, dark spices, and other things I've never even seen..." (Kingsolver, 2005:87)

The Prices, an evangelical Baptist family, pack up their belongings and move to the Belgian Congo in 1959 where they find the things they carried - Betty Crocker cake mixes - are quickly rendered obsolete by their new surroundings. Africa has a profound effect on each family member and their growth and decline during their time in the jungle make for a thought provoking tale.
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  • At 12:26 am, Blogger Carolyn said…

    Oh my goodness, FIRSTIES!

    I loved the tarts comment.

  • At 2:29 am, Blogger Bearette24 said…

    i wish barbara kingsolver would write another book already ;)

  • At 2:58 am, Blogger Janet said…

    I really need to read Poisonwood Bible...

  • At 8:35 am, Blogger Liz said…

    I love the picture on the Five Quarters book. It made my nose tickle. Fresh orange is one of my favorite scents in the world...

  • At 10:43 am, Blogger Bearette24 said…

    my mom used to get oranges in her Christmas stocking (for real)!

  • At 11:19 am, Blogger verniciousknids said…

    Carolyn: It made me laugh too!

    Bearette: This is the only Kingsolver book I've read...and I bought it because it was set in Africa.

    Janet: It was a good read...though the Price family are pretty horrid.

    Liz: It's a gorgeous cover, isn't it...I love orange too...all the citrus smells actually!

    Bearette: Better than a lump of coal!

  • At 12:05 pm, Blogger Bearette24 said…

    Almost all her other books are good...The Bean Trees, Animal Dreams (my favorite because of the title), and some others i can't remember. Prodigal Summer was a bit disappointing.

  • At 2:42 pm, Blogger nutmeg said…

    The Poisonwood Bible was a bookclub pick and it was universally liked.

    I've yet to read any Joanne Harris. Though I have been eyeing her latest release Gentlemen and Players. I think it is quite different to Chocolat and Five Quarters Of The Orange though.

  • At 9:32 pm, Blogger traveller one said…

    Loved, loved, loved The Poisonwood Bible (and Prodigal Summer too!). Joanne Harris writes sweet charming novels which I devour. And I'll have to look up this one by Shamsie.

  • At 1:04 am, Blogger Amy said…

    I've been trying to read Poisonwood Bible forever, but it's one of those serious books I need to devote time to and I just don't have the time to give it. I am a fan of Barbara Kingsolver though because she is from my home state of Kentucky. And I love the book Chocolat, so I'll have to check out that one about oranges too.


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