Friday, 30 December 2016


I had five minutes of wifi available before we left a Bangkok hotel, and so I downloaded Thoreau’s WALDEN. I had a long flight ahead of me, and I suddenly thought – really? No doubt it is a towering classic but it may also be a very dull account of living by some pond. So with two minutes remaining I chose a title from the bestseller lists. This is partly so I was sure of having something pacey and plotty to read, but also because as regular readers will be aware I just finished a mass market thriller (Paula Hawkins’ GIRL ON THE TRAIN) and figured maybe I am just that kind of person now – the kind of person who reads mass market fiction.

Apparently I am not yet that person. I did read it, and it made the flight pass, but it was sort of lame. Girl is in love with gorgeous best friend who is with obviously inappropriate girlfriend. You pretty much know the plot from there. It was all set in Georgia, and everybody was very salt of the earth. There was a lot of stuff which I found surprising but the characters seemed to think was quite normal: people fighting in bars, littering like it wasn’t a big deal, and talking about PMS as accounting for womens’ behaviour. I guess this is what Trump voters mean when they say ‘real’ America. Shiver.

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