No book reviews this morning as I am still working my way through the unbelievably turgid ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’. This is the second time I’ve read this very disappointing novel, and I think I posted a review the first time. Hmm – seems I did, but I posted it on Amazon and not here. Oh well. I know I called it a ‘turkey’ and this time around I’m liking it slightly more – but only slightly. The narration is still turgid, the characters flat and the historical references unbelievably clunky. But I’ll save the full heat of my ire until I’ve finished.
Meanwhile, as I listen to Gillian Clarke the National Poet of Wales on Desert Island Discs, I will share with you a thought. It’s simple but profound, and it’s this: every day we need certain things to sustain us. Food and drink, obviously; shelter and warmth, definitely; love and companionship, certainly. However it struck me again this morning as it often does, that something else we need is some Good News. No, this isn’t the beginning of an evangelistic rant, so don’t run away: I mean literally that we need some good news in our lives; and the news media very very rarely answers that need. This morning as I was listening to ‘Today’ on radio 4, they began an item on vulnerable girls being abused in Rochdale by Pakistani men, and how these girls were let down by all the agencies who should have helped them. This is not by any means the first time that this story has come up, and it’s depressing in more ways than I can count: the vulnerability of the girls and their need for attention which drew them to the men in the first place: the terrible patriarchal attitudes that often prevail in the Pakistani community; the restrictive practices of traditional marriage which lead them to marry their first cousins despite the inadvisability of this; the tendency of the police and social workers to believe the articulate and middle class and ignore the uneducated and poor: I could go on and on. When I hear such a story I feel a mixture of sadness and anger, coupled with a desire to do something – but there’s nothing I can do, so it leaves me with this welter of emotion which I can’t do anything about. So instead of continuing to listen, I took the radical gesture of turning the radio off. What can I listen to instead? I asked myself. And I came up with this:
And I felt much better.