Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests








Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Sweet Bean Paste by Tetsuya Akikawa a.k.a Durian Sukegawa - 2013, translated from Japanese by Alison Watts - 2017

 

Sweet Bean Paste by Tetsuya Akikawa 2013, translated from Japanese by Alison Watts - 2017


Tetsuya Akikawa is the pen name of Durian Sukegawa under which Sweet Bean Paste was originally published .


An International best seller


Sweet Bean Paste is very moving, almost heartbreaking at times.


It is set in a confectionary shop in Tokyo, specializing in dorayaki,a very popular pancake with a filling of sweet bean paste.



 The shop is run by Sontaro.  He has a troubled past, he spent two years in prison through his involvement in never quite spelled out shady activities of the shop owner.  He has abandoned his dreams of wanting to be a writer and drinks too much.  He works in the shop to pay back money he owes to the widow of the late owner and to live. He is maybe forty.


He buys his bean paste from vendors, then stuffs the pancakes with the paste.


He does not have any passion for his work. As far as we know, he has no friends, no living family..  He lives in a Spartan apartment.  We do learn a lot about the pastry business.  The owner’s widow goes over the books with him occasionally.


One day a quite elderly woman comes in the shop in response to the “Help Wanted” sign he had put in the window.  He really mostly wanted someone to talk with during the day.  The woman, Tokue, asks for the job.  Sontoaro notices her hands are deformed and feels she Will  have a hard time.  He also thinks she may scare away his customers.  She tells him she had been making bean paste for fifty years and offers to work for a very low wage as she totally  wants the job.  She loves making bean paste.it turns out her paste is simply fabulous.  Business goes way up.  They slowly become close.  Then just before midpoint, a tragic secret is revealed about Tokue’s past.





We learn that at around 14 she was diagnosed as having Hansen’s disease, once called Leporsy.  In those days, victims were confined to sanatariums, not allowed any outside contacts. Then maybe thirty years ago a cure was developed but Tokue knew nothing but living there by now.  She married another victim, they had no children and now she is a widow.  Sontaro is afraid his customers may be turned away if they learn her history.  He decides to hide it. They both gradually become friends with a teenage girl patron. We learn slowly about the history of Sontoro, the  girl and Tokue, they form a Family almost.  Each loving the other as no one else does.  


I really do not want to tell to much of the plot.  There are very sad and very up lifting moments.


I was very moved by this book.  





Durian Sukegawa studied oriental philosophy at Waseda University, before going on to work as a reporter in Berlin and Cambodia in the early 1990s. He has written a number of books and essays, TV programmes and films. He lives in Tokyo. Google Books

Born: June 17, 1962 (age 58 years), Tokyo, Japan

Nationality: Japanese

Books: Sweet Bean Paste



















Sunday, May 9, 2021

Washington Black : A Novel by Esi Edugyan. 2018



Washington Black : A Novel  by Esi Edugyan. 2018



Washington Black won the Giller Prize in November 2018 and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.


The story opens in 1830 on a sugar plantation in the Barbados. The narrator is a 12 year old slave born on the island, George Washington Black, he goes by “Wash”.  The plantation is owned by a very cruel master.  Sugar plantations were among the worst places for slaves.  The master was quick to give very harsh punishments, including executing those caught running away, to serve as an example.


Everything changes when the master’s younger brother arrives from London.  He is working on a ballon and he asks for the loan of Wash, as he is the perfect weight for ballast.  The brother is Christopher “Titch” Wilde.  He is the first white person to see Wash as more than just a slave.


The plot covers six years in the life of Wash.  Almost every chapter either gives us a startling new revelation or leaves us on edge.


Titch and Wash develop a relationship, it seems slightly paternal but it is very subtle.  Titch begins to teach Wash to read.  Wash starts making very accurate drawings of his surroundings.  


I do not want to give away the very exciting plot.  It does take us from the Barbados, to Washington DC with an anti-slavery activist, to the Arctic living in an Igloo, to Nova Scotia then London.  


Edugyan vividly evokes each location. Minor characters are well realized. Everyone is described so we can visualize them.


Her prose is exquisite.  I greatly enjoyed George Washington Black.  



ESI EDUGYAN is author of the novels The Second Life of Samuel Tyne and Half-Blood Blues, which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, the Governor General's Literary Award, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, and the Orange Prize. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.. from Amazon.com 


I have added her other two novels to my Amazon Wish List.








 

 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

River of Life - A Short Story by John Duffy - Debut Publication. May 6, 2021


  Wide Ranging Q and A Session With John Duffy

John Duffy writes short fiction and poetry as a hobby. He studied at NUI Galway in Ireland where he completed his degree and MA. He has contributed to Abandoned Darlings, an anthology of fiction and poetry, The Georgia Straight and also to The Reading Life.

An electrician by trade, John lives in Vancouver, Canada. - author supplied data 


The first time I read a story by John Duffy it was during my read through of Abandoned Darlings, a collection of writings by the 2011 and 2012 MA in Creative Writing classes at the National University of Ireland at Galway. His story was about a very dangerous bus trip through the Andes in Bolivia.  These words sum up how I felt about Duffy's really well done story, "Death Road".


You might have seen a National Geographic Channel program about the terribly dangerous road through the Andes in Bolivia that the narrator in this story crosses in a bus ride sure to scare anyone out of their wits who is not from there.   The first person speaker in this story is an Irishman out for an adventure in the wilds of South America and he happens to hook up with a beautiful and delightful sounding "French girl of Lebanese extraction".   Some cynics say the reason the English conquered India was because they could do things and have adventures there that they could never do at home.   I think that is part of the deeper theme of this very interesting marvelously cinematic story.    


Since then I have had the  honor  of  publishing three of his original short stories as well as a wide ranging Q and A session I recommend to all interested in short stories or Irish culture to read the Q and A session, from there you can link to his stories.


Today I am very pleased and honoured that John Duffy has entrusted me to share another of his stories on The Reading Life, “River of Life”. ( John Duffy is the exclusive owner of this story. As protected by international copyright law, this story cannot be republished in any format without his permission.)


I hope to follow his work for many years 






River of life


By John Duffy


At the Chaltalan hotel the space was clean and white and the bedroom smelled like varnished walnut and cherry blossom flowers. It took a moment to recall the location and remember where I’d even come from. Deep sleep ensued throughout the night after several days travel on old busses along treacherous roads through the mountains. I went for a walk around the hotel and it was quiet enough at this place. Morning light streamed in from the bay windows lighting the tiled hallway and pictures inside the hand- made frames.

I wondered if I was the only person staying here. The receptionist lady showed me a living space where there was bread, cheese and fruit on a table. Beside the sink stood jars of tea and coffee.

‘The tour guide will be here at 11.’

‘Thank you.’

After checking in, the evening before, I put my name down for a boat tour of the Lacuma River.

Beep, Beep.

A mini-bus showed up outside with a few people in the back. The driver walked around front and introduced himself as Alejandro.

‘Let’s do this man.’

Such blind optimism for the unknown. I took a small back-pack with some clothes and a few possessions I had packed earlier and jumped in the back with the others. Alex said he was from Manchester and claimed to be a Man city fan, a true blue.



Stella and Beatrice were sisters from Holland and we spoke about Rotterdam, a city I was familiar with as I had lived there some years earlier.

‘Did you own a bicycle when you lived in Holland?’

‘Yes.’

We chatted about our travels thus far and what we expected from this journey down the Lacuma River.

After a while it was easier not to speak as we were thrown around the bus as it hit bumps and pot holes. There was a steel pole overhead so I held on to it. We went along out of town and soon we were on this dusty, dirt track and soon afterwards we were surrounded by vegetation and jungle growth of the interior. On the road again for sure.

After an hour or so we arrived at a boat launch dock by the river and climbed out of the vehicle. There were a few buildings there and some people working on boats and nets which were tied up by the river bank.

There are times, at outdoor lavatory facilities I use a foot to lower the toilet seat and that’s what happened here, except this time the seat slipped off my shoe and landed with a clatter on the toilet. There was an immediate buzzing sound overhead and I was set upon by a swarm of black wasps. There must have been a nest of them in the rafters. They flew down and attacked, dropping their payload of stingers into head and scalp primarily and when I attempted to swat them away, took more stings to the hands and arms. A vicious horror show for sure and such a searing panic I felt. The pain was sharp and spreading fast, head throbbing like never before. I ran outside and fell to my knees beside a muddy puddle of water and threw some of its contents over my head.

Mother of God.



There was a woman selling drinks and snacks at a stall nearby and I walked over to her in a daze. I don’t think I’ve ever been more attracted to Cola in my life. I bought three cans from her and slugged one of them back. I warned her of the hazard in the outhouse in my best broken Spanish.


Down at the river bank the people were loading bags onto the boat, a long wooden canoe-like vessel with an outboard engine at the back. I let Alejandro know what happened and he seemed indifferent about the incident. Shrugged his shoulders.

‘I don’t know if I should go on this trip. How long will the pain last?’ ‘Seven, eight hours,’ he replied.

I thought about it for a minute.

‘OK. I’ll go.’

We set off down river. Alejandro had another mate Ernesto to help him and once we were on our way, while his co-worker steered the boat by the engine handle at the back, Alejandro sat on the side of the vessel and picked through my hair and plucked some of the stingers out. A sound fellow he was.


It was amazing to be out and about on the meandering river, to hear the Toucan birds call and to see the macaw fly between the trees and see the water flow away from the boat in ripples, fresh water and thick vegetation along the banks of the river, deep green, and there were all these flowers wearing colours I’d never seen before.

After a while we pulled into the river bank alongside some tall trees. Alejandro stood up in the boat and made some whistling sounds. A squirrel monkey showed up at the end of a branch and then another monkey joined him. They had cute, round heads with yellow and black fur. They used their tails to swing among the branches. Slick, nimble movements. He peeled a banana and held the fruit out to the animal who promptly jumped on to the boat for a bite. Unreal. Soon there were more monkeys climbing in the

tree and before long there must have been six or seven of them jumping around inside the boat. We had a good laugh with them. Alejandro held the fruit over Beatrice and there were monkeys jumping all over her. Then he gave us some fruit to feed them.


We continued for another hour or so travelling down river. Then we came to a place where the river split in two and the anchor was dropped around this junction. Alejandro put some fishing gear together. The rig was a small block of wood with some gut wrapped around it. Towards the end of the line there were beads of shot and a piece of meat on a hook. He set up a few of these rigs and handed them around to us. I unwound the line and threw the bait into a pool by the trees. Beatrice and Alex were into some fish already and they brought them on to the boat, flapping about.

‘What are these?’ she asked.

‘Piranha,’ said Ernesto.

‘Are there any other type of fish here?’ ‘No. Just Piranha.’

I felt a bite and wrapped the line around the piece of wood and brought a fat piranha onto the boat. It had a flash of red about the gills. I took the hook out of its mouth. Alejandro had a hunter’s knife and he put the blade through the head of the fish. You could see its teeth.

‘Are we going to keep these?’ Alex asked.

‘This is supper,’ he replied.

‘Fair enough mate.’

After another hour or so moving down river we came to an area where the river was wider, the water was darker and moving more slowly. Alejandro dropped the anchor and spoke to the group,



‘Now we have come to my favourite part of the river. Here you might see some pink river dolphins. And, believe it or not, this part of the river is actually safe to swim in.’


When he said this I stripped to shorts and got ready for a dip. But I had to check with him once more before I jumped in. I had built up a certain trust in our captain at this stage of our journey so when he gave the nod I was gone front crawl up the centre of the river. While swimming I noticed a creature protrude from the water blowing air near the bank, then another further up river. Swimming with pink river dolphins. I could hardly believe it. All of my dreams of adventure were realized in a moment.

I could hear the girls calling from the boat.

‘What’s it like?’

‘It’s like this and that and ah. Jump in and find out.’

I turned over on my back to float. There were a few billowy clouds over head. Then Stella was in swimming and Alex as well, swimming around with the dolphins.

A few minutes later I felt something nibble at my leg, not a bite so much as a nibble but it was enough for me to keep swimming and make for the boat. What a lovely dip in the fresh water after all the stings and headaches. It gave a new lease of life.

We moved on again and after another hour or so on the water we approached our accommodation. Ernesto slowed the engine and turned the boat in towards the station. A plume of blue smoke rose up from the engine as it spluttered into a lower gear.

‘This is where we will stay tonight.’



There were some people waiting at the jetty to help us unload the boat. We pulled up alongside and the vessel was tied with rope. Our accommodation was a collection of cabins with a few generators hooked up outside them. There was light in the buildings and hot water which was a relief.

Later then, after we had settled in, we went for a game of football and met some local people. Not that the boys needed to be shown how to play soccer. The speed of these fellows running up the field and the passing was top drawer. Toe to big toe. The tourist team was down 4-0 after about ten minutes. Then they mixed up the teams and it was a better contest. A beautiful game.

Alex, the Man City boy is in the box, he swivels, he turns to shoot, bang, back of the net.


I was playing at midfield, threading passes through to our strikers, getting the tackles in to block the opposition runs. It was a clean game, full of skill and a load of fun.

Then later, back at base, there was something about the open fire, people’s voices nearby and the piranha roasting on the flames with the sloped forehead and teeth revealing themselves among the flickering shadows.


Alejandro went around the table with plates of salad and bread for everyone. This legend of a man. We couldn’t have done it without him.

It tasted like, well, piranha. It was A1 with a squeeze of lime.

Later, then I found a quiet spot in the trees near the hammocks as the sun was going down, watched this mosquito land on the leg of my pants, the grey stripe on its back, a healthy insect, stabilizing the ship, unleashing the lance, see if she can pierce through now, these worn combats from TK Maxx in London, Bing, felt something there alright, stay still as you can, don’t even let your heart beat, let her gorge, she’ll have a good night, flying through the trees on this concoction, down to the riverbank.



Wonder could they send a message. How are things with you? Or how I’d cheerfully tolerate the abuse just to feel your breath on my neck again.

‘Johan. You want to see something cool?’

‘Yes.’

Down to the river with Ernesto and Alex. We got into the boat and pushed it out with the oars.

Ernie had a flashlight and he pointed the light in under the braches.

‘Look. You see. The lights.’

There were little globes of light on the water. Then another set nearby.

‘Alligators.’

Their eyes above the water line, bodies lurking underneath, four or five of them swimming about through the darkness.

‘That is cool. Should we go back now?’ ‘Sure.’

Nestled under a net amongst the trees somewhere. Drifting off. Wild sounds altogether from without, an epically wild chorus of croaking and chirping sounds, headlong through the tunnel, counting breaths. Thank you for the day Lord, for the people, the silent flow of the river nearby, distant voices carried over on a cooler breeze, shadows growing taller under stars.



End 


This story is the exclusive property of John Duffy and cannot be republished in any format without his permission 



I thank John Duffy for allowing me to share his work on The Reading Life


Mel u



Monday, May 3, 2021

The Invention of Nature- Alexander Von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf - 2015 - 562 pages


The Invention of Nature - Alexander von Humboldt’s New World - by Andrea Wulf.—2015 - 562 pages


An Autodidactic Corner Selection


Alexander von Humboldt





September 14,1769 - Berlin, Germany


May 6, 1859 - Berlin, Germany 


This is as interesting a biography as I have read in a long time. I really do not quite know how to start here. In fact it is much more than a very good biography. It shows How Humboldt created modern enviormentalism.  He was among if not The first scientist to see human activities as leading to destructive climate changes.  He was very opposed to slavery and colonialism.  He saw they were interlinked throughout The world. He saw How converting societies once based on subsistence farming to cash crops would create famine, as we have since seen in Inidia and Ireland.  This was done to enrich  the colonial powers.  Humboldt saw and explained this all.


He was by far the most famous scientist of his day.  He was an incredibly prolific author on all sorts of topics.  He spent five years traveling in South America and climbed The highest peak in the Andes. He traveled far into Russia.


He met and highly impressed Thomas Jefferson and Simon Bolívar, who he met while living in Paris.  


Among those directly influenced by his writings on nature were Goethe, Darwin, Wordsworth, John Muir founder of The Sierra Club and Thoreau.


For part of his Life, maybe up to 40, he lived from money inherited from his mother and income from sales of his publications.  Later in Life, he lived to 89, he was supported by the Prussian Royal family.



Wulf’s book is beautifully done.  The chapter on Darwin shows

his impact on The theory of evolution.  We see How Reading Humboldt shaped Thoreau’s nature writings.  



From https://www.andreawulf.com/


Andrea Wulf is an award–winning author of six acclaimed books, including the ‘Founding Gardeners’ and ‘The Invention of Nature’ which were both on the New York Times Best Seller List. Her latest book 'The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt' is a graphic novel about Humboldt's daring 5-year expedition through South America, illustrated by Lillian Melcher, and was a Top 10 Bestseller in Germany. She has written for New York Times, the Atlantic, the LA Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Guardian and many others.

She has lectured across the world – from the Royal Geographical Society and Royal Society in London to Monticello and the New York Public Library in the US. She’s spoken to audiences from Colombia to Europe, as well as to 15,000 people at the Esri User Conference in San Diego and literary festivals across the world. She is a Miller Scholar at the Santa Fe Institute, a three-time fellow of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello and the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence 2013. She's a member of PEN American Center, an International Fellow of the Explorer's Club, a member of The Society of Woman Geographers, a Fellow of the Linnean Society, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Andrea is a regular on radio and TV in the US, the UK and in Germany. The ZDF / Smithsonian Humboldt documentary won the Discovery Award 2019 / Science Film Festival. In 2019, she was part of the delegation that accompanied Germany's President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on his trip to Ecuador and Colombian ... following Humboldt's footsteps.

The “Brother Gardeners” was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2008, the most prestigious non-fiction award in the UK and won the American Horticultural Society 2010 Book Award. “Founding Gardeners” and 'The Invention of Nature" were both on the New York Times Best Seller List.


































 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

The Reading Life Review - April 2021




April Authors


Row One

. From Left to Right


  1. Marni Davis - USA - historian focusing on Jewish Americans 
  2. Kathleen DuVal - USA - historian focusing on American Revolution 
  3. Hanya Yanagihara - USA - Author A Little Life and The People in The Trees. Very powerful novels 
  4. Winifred Watson - UK - author Mrs Perrigrew Lives for a Day- a perfect book to fight The Pandemic Blue
  5. Souvankham Thammavongsa - Canada - her debut collection Hoe to Pronounce Knife won The Gilner Prize - Souvankham Thammavongsa - was born in a Laotian refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand, and was raised and educated in Toronto. She is the award-winning author of four books of poetry, and her fiction has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, Granta, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, The Best American Non-Required Reading 2018, and The O. Henry Prize Stories 2019.- first appearance. I am very high on her work and plan to post on all Her Short Stories in How to Pronounce Knife, her debut


Row Two


  1. Dantiel W. Moniz - USA - DANTIEL W. MONIZ is the recipient of the Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction, the Cecelia Joyce Johnson Emerging Writer Award by the Key West Literary Seminar, a Tin House Scholarship, and has been named a "Writer to Watch" by Publishers Weekly and Apple Books. Her debut collection, Milk Blood Heat, is an Indie Next Pick, an Amazon "Best Book of the Month" selection, a Roxane Gay Audacious Book Club pick, and has been hailed as "must-read" by TIME, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzefeed, Elle, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others. Her work has appeared in the Paris Review, Harper’s Bazaar, Tin House, One Story, American Short Fiction, Ploughshares, The Yale Review, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern and elsewhere. She lives in Northeast Florida and currently teaches fiction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  2. Deesha Philyaw - USA -Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, and the 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies focuses on Black women, sex, and the Black church, and is being adapted for television by HBO Max with Tessa Thompson executive producing. Deesha is also a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow.
  3. Andrei Bely - Russian - Author of Petersburg - late Romanov Era
  4. Penelope Fitzgerald - UK - Book Price Winner 
  5. Roxane Gay - USA - Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women and the New York Times bestselling Hunger. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She has several books forthcoming and is also at work on television and film projects. She also has a newsletter, The Audacity.



Row

  1. Adam D. Mendel­sohn - USA - Direc­tor of the Pearlstine/ Lipov Cen­ter for South­ern Jew­ish Cul­ture and Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Jew­ish Stud­ies at the Col­lege of Charleston 
  2. Robert Alexander - USA - author Prize winning novels set in late Romanov era Russia 
  3. Sabina Murray - USA - The Human Zoo, set in the Philippines under Duterte's presidency, is to be published August 2021. Vanishing Point, a collection of stories with gothic themes, has also been accepted for publication.Murray is also a screenwriter and wrote the script for the film Beautiful Country, released in 2005
  4.  Alastair MacLeod - Canada - i Will be doing a read through of his Short Stories with Buried in Print


Home Countries of Authors


  1. USA - 9
  2. Canada - 2
  3. UK - 2
  4. Russia - 1


Ten women were featured, four men. Four authors are deceased. Eight writers were featured for first time.


Blog Stats


The Reading Life has received 6,317,322 page views


There are currently 3910 posts online.


The ten most viewed posts for April were all on Short Stories.


To my delight, The most viewed post, from September of 2012, was

An Irish Short story written in 1824, The Brewery of Egg-Shells" by T. Crofton Croker.



The top home countries for blog visitors were


  1. USA
  2. The Philippines 
  3. India 
  4. Germany 
  5. Canada
  6. UK
  7. Italy
  8. Russia



Reading Notes





In April I read seven  novels, all very good (normally I only finish novels I hold in esteem).  One Mrs Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson gets our vote as a great work to fight the pandemic blues.


I read four works of non-fiction, three on aspects of Jewish American history.  I did not post upon one of them,


All Together Different:

Yiddish Socialists, Garment Workers, and the Labor Roots of Multiculturalism by Daniel Katz.


I posted on the work of four short story writers.


May will probably be more of the same.


My thanks to Max u for the very kind provision of gift cards from Amazon


To those who leave comments, you help keep me going


To my fellow book bloggers, please keep blogging 














 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Mrs Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson - 1938


Mrs Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson - 1938


Persephone Books Edition  - 2000

With a Preface by Henrietta Twycross

Illustrations by Mary Thomson 


Born October 20, 1906 - Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Died August 5, 2002 - Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


 This a wonderful book if you feel your spirits diminished by The Pandemic Blues.



Mrs Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a delightful story of an amazing day in the Life of a quite ordinary seeming woman that ends   in a that manner you cannot help but love.   Guinevere Pettigrew, 40, childless, never married or been even kissed has just lost her job as a governess.  Behind in her rent, her landlord tells her to find a job today or move out. She knows she is not really a decent governess, being not overly fond of children but it is all she knows. She finds an opening at an agency by accident and goes to apply.  This leads to the most exciting day of her life.  The story is set over one day in 1938.



Upon arrival at the address for her interview, Mrs Pettigrew meets Delysia Lafosse,  a singer in a nightclub and a stage actress..  Mrs Pettigrew’s well timed entrance helps cause The exit of a boyfriend, one of three we Will encounter. She covers up for Delysia. Mrs Pettigrew tries to ask about The job but Delysia draws her into other topics.  We learn the woman is part of the theatrical demimonde set in London, with her work arranged by men who she has some sort of relationship with.


In one quite shocking scene, Mrs Pettigrew sees  Delysia naked as she is getting dressed to Go out.  For England in 1938 it was a surprising scene and I did enjoy visualizing it.


Mrs Pettigrew has several new to her expereiences.  I liked Delsia’s friend who owns London’s best, she says, fashion and Beauty salon.  It was so open to hear her account of how she got a rich old man to marry her and then get the business when he died.


I liked this book so much, all the characters are well done, especially the women.


The movie version, 2008, looks interesting.  It is rentable on Amazon Prime for $3.95