Pontificating

Thanks to Addison Crow for her kind words on River of Ink!

The Biblio-Files

Wow, so, hey! What a turn up for the books (pun always intended). Let’s catch you up:

I still haven’t finished Rivka’s Christmas present and her birthday is right around the corner as well. Oops! She’s super into scarves and headwrapping at the moment though so I imagine a couple of lovely layering linens will go down a treat. Or maybe that’s to throw her off the scent and I’m going to buy her books. Or make her something… Hmmm… I guess in a month we’ll find out.

I am still reading. Always reading. Not doing very well with Book Bingo. A lot of the books I have don’t fit into those categories… but I’m working on it. There’s no time limit, right? Right?

I have, however, read an amazing debut novel from Paul M M Cooper. River of Ink is a sumptuous narrative set in Sri Lanka in…

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ARC Review: River of Ink by Paul M. M. Cooper

Lovely, honest review of River of Ink from Natalie Sorrell:

A Sea Change

river of ink

River of Ink

by Paul M. M. Cooper

Rating: 4 Stars

‘In thirteenth-century Sri Lanka, Asanka, poet to the king, lives a life of luxury, enjoying courtly life and a sweet, furtive love affair with a palace servant, a village girl he is teaching to write. But when Magha, a prince from the mainland, usurps the throne, Asanka’s role as court poet dramatically alters. Magha is a cruel and calculating king–and yet, a lover of poetry–and he commissions Asanka to translate a holy Sanskrit epic into the Tamil language spoken by his recently acquired subjects. The poem will be an olive branch–a symbol of unity between the two cultures.

But in different languages, in different contexts, meaning can become slippery. First inadvertently, then deliberately and dangerously, Asanka’s version of the epic, centred on the killing of an unjust ruler, inspires and arouses the oppressed people of the land. Asanka must…

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For the Joy of Reading: River of Ink

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The first thing that has to be said is that I know next to nothing about Sri Lankan history, and the little that I do know is mainly derived from the reading of novels such as Gillian Slovo’s “Black Orchid”.   This ignorance, however, is no barrier to the enjoyment of this book.   Paul M. M. Cooper has produced a book that is, on so many levels, just beautiful.

The story begins with the invasion of Sri Lanka by Kalinga Magha and his armies in the 13th century (Common Era).   This makes him a contemporary of King John, and the events take place at the same time as the massacres of the Cathars by King Louis VIII of France.   I mention this so that the story can be placed in its historical context, and I admit that I had to resort to an online encyclopaedia to check…

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Thanks everyone for a brilliant Reddit AMA

I did a Reddit AMA over this weekend, and it was a brilliant experience. For anyone who doesn’t know what this is, it’s sort of like getting interviewed by hundreds of people all at once. The positivity and curiosity I received were quite overwhelming.

Some of the more suspect questions included ‘what appendage would you lose?’; ‘are you single?’ and ‘what’s that thing in the corner?’ – but others asked about the research required to write River of Ink, about how they can balance writing with the exigencies of daily life, and the best ways to construct plots and characters.

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Book Review: River of Ink by Paul M.M Cooper

Lovely review from nothingintherulebook.com!

nothingintherulebook

River of Ink

At a time when the world seems at times to be descending into chaos, and with writers, artists and activists imprisoned, and persecuted, a story about a poet whose written words change the world and fight injustice is exactly what the doctor ordered. It was a real treat, therefore, to review River of Ink, the new novel by British author Paul Cooper.

Within this novel, mediaeval Sri Lanka is vivified – it lifts itself from the pages and chapters and engulfs you, utterly and completely, in the real, lived intricacies and complexities of the mysterious and intriguing world Cooper weaves for us. It is a world of steaming jungles and dust-covered streets, of stamped okra fingers and pink rambutan skins and, of course, of spat betel juice – a continuous feature of this world we encounter again and again, until we start looking for it in our own homes…

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Galle Literary Festival 2016: What I’m looking forward to

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I’ve always loved the Galle Lit Fest, with its eclectic mix of writers from across Sri Lanka and India, and authors from around the world jetting in to exchange ideas and speak about writing. The old Dutch star fort with its iconic lighthouse is the perfect setting for a literature festival, and the waves of the Indian ocean are always lapping on its beautiful beaches. Look south: there’s nothing that way until Antarctica.

This year Galle has an amazing mix of workshops, film screenings, panels and readings, so I thought I’d put together a list of the things I’m most excited about in the coming days from the Galle Literature Festival 2016.

Continue reading “Galle Literary Festival 2016: What I’m looking forward to”

My 6 months of being haunted by Russell Hoban

My relationship with Russell Hoban began a little like one of his novels might: in a disordered room in Fulham, piled high with boxes and files.

Anyone who has ever seen the inside of Russell’s inner sanctum knows that it’s like stepping into his mind. Suddenly you’re surrounded by all of the motifs that he wove again and again, with a composer’s persistence, into his work: sculptures of lions lounge on every shelf and surface, a cackling Punch puppet sits on the mantelpiece, and an antique poster for the premiere of King Kong lies rolled up on the desk. An enormous map of Kent fills one whole wall, and books are piled in shelves that reach to the ceiling. Continue reading “My 6 months of being haunted by Russell Hoban”