Friday, 15 July 2011

Just Finished Reading: Baking Cakes in Kigali

Remember a month or so ago that I said that I was  Back on Track healthwise?  Well, I spoke too soon and will use Homer as an illustrative example.  Doh! not the author of the Illiad and Odyssey.  You should know by now that I'm not that highbrow.  Of course, I'm talking about the head of the Simpsons family.

I watched the movie the other day with Louis.  Homer was on a snowy mountain in Alaska and Bart was clapping with malevolent intent.  Initially the claps were causing tiny snowslides and then whoosh! a final one caused an avalanche which engulfed Homer!  A great metaphor for the two seemingly innocuous events on Monday which have knocked me back good and proper and sent me wallowing pretty helplessly in a snowy abyss.  I'm exhausted and my brain has turned to mush.  So, my GP has signed me off and I'm going to take the time to get myself well again, without having to deal with the pressure of work at the same time.

Has I been more observant, one of the signs of being unwell that I might have noticed was that I hadn't finished a book since Easter, a famine diet for a normally voracious bookworm.  Yesterday's small achievements in between kips, cycling Louis to school, hanging out the washing and making a salad, included finishing Baking Cakes in Kigali, and its the one I'm most chuffed with! 

This book is billed as being like the No:1 Detective's Agency.  Now for a light read I'm quite partial to this series  but Mr Lovelygrey hates them. He says that they lack substance and in a way I agree with him.  The characters  aren't particularly well developed and Mozambique is used like a theatre backdrop.  It sets the scene well enough but there's no particular depth and I haven't felt that I've gleaned any great knowledge of the culture or politics of the country.  Whereas, 'Baking Cakes in Kigali' has given me some insight into the workings of Rwanda that has been rebuilt after the terrible genocide of the 1990s and does not skip around AIDs, poverty or the pros and cons of international intervention. It interweaves all this 'heavy stuff' into a story about Angel, who bakes cakes for a living.  True there are parallels to Precious Ramotswe, that famous lady detective and the story has all the gentleness and humour of Alexander McCall Smith's books as well.  But will  it be meaty enough for Mr Lovelygrey like it and no dismiss it as chick-lit? Perhaps, so I've left it on his bookpile to see!

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