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Showing posts from March, 2012

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Cover image  ©  Penguin Modern Classics. It’s hard to believe that a book could anger me quite a much as Wide Sargasso Sea did. My anger may well be completely unreasonable, or indeed it may be borne of the exact frustration that Jean Rhys wanted a reader to feel. The novella commences not long after the 1833 Abolition of Slavery Act has come into effect in the British colony of Jamaica and follows the life of a young white Creole heiress, Antoinette, from childhood into adulthood. The story is supposed to be that of the mad woman in the attic in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre . As the novella begins, in the faded colonial plantation estate of Coulibri, the sense of a world already falling apart is overwhelming. Our narrator draws attention to the decaying grandeur early on, notably focusing on her mother’s horse: “I saw her horse lying down under the frangipani tree… he was not sick, he was dead and his eyes were black with flies.” Being caught between the haughtiness

The Bakiga Window: The Road is Long

Sunset over Johnstone Road in Kabale, Uganda. A dear Ugandan friend, Peter, seemingly manages his life by adding the word ‘project’ after whatever it is that needs doing. During our visit to Uganda this years there has been the ‘Lunch Project’, ‘Bus Project’ and ‘Football Match Project’ to name but a few. It is easy to see our time in Uganda as a pyramid of projects of many different levels of importance, or, like the Johnstone Road, a never ending hill to be surmounted. It is Wednesday 20 th April , the sun is setting behind the distant hills and I am wandering back up Johnstone Road towards the hotel for the last time. For 2011, the projects are coming to a close. With the regular organiser and manager absent this year whilst she gets married, I’ve found myself in charge of running the show. In doing so I have an even better insight, and perhaps appreciation, of what really goes on behind the scenes – every day meeting somebody else, shaking hands, making speec