Eating Pomegranates with my friend

sarahI met her some years ago in a leafy suburb of Dublin. The rule of attraction as always happens among human beings  was her appearance, her nordic appearance.  Her slim figure wrapped up with a white anorak and  her ‘signature’  long blond hair attracted my attention in the first place.  When I talked to her, her voice had the same effect on me as her appearance, soft posh intellectual  English accent.  Usually this kind of people who concentrate all the above ingredients of popularity are  quite indifferent about others , but not Sarah. Sarah was quite tuned to other people’s need for communication. So it was not too long that a real friendship was developed between us.   One of those friendship which one could share secrets and lies  without being  embarrassed, reveal their weakness but as well as their  strengths, fears and have a good laugh.

Despite my moves around the globe we kept in touch, even during her ordeal, fighting a common disease of our times, breast cancer.  And during this ordeal  she made an extraordinary   thing:  she wrote a book.

This summer she gave it  to me with her signature. I didn’t expect anything less than her. A book about her disease, explaining it by  scientific precision as   a bright first class educated person can explain. Sarah read English literature in Oxford with first class honour as well as she attended the prestigious UEA creative writing courses.  She wrote about her beloved mother who had the same disease and the same gene mutation BRCA1, about her father and the impact her disease had on her own small family.

Reading the book I realized that I had  already known the most of the facts and  I learned more about Breast Cancer, the BRCA1 gene mutation which Sarah described with medical accuracy, I learned more about her family, her politician father her late mother, another Oxford graduate and much loved by her.  I recognized somewhere myself with my daft questions and once more  I confirmed that Sarah comes from a certain stock -a  family of driven people,  “..we were the whole world’ with her father’s words. All of them have put in, with  their own way, a small stone in this very exclusive English  society. Sarah is a journalist in Sunday Times.

Sarah’s book  isn’t a simple memoir of her life , it’s well crafted  literature which, I’m sure, was the reason that  Clare Alexander, the guru of the literary agent in London, snatched her book to add it in her long list of the famous authors she promotes…..

The following is an extract from her book, just to illuminate her literary craft:

I always thought I would write novels about relationships. Subtle psychological studies of the contemporary family, its disintegrations and reformations; the long shadow play of gender;generations across time. Exquisite things in the realist symbolist tradition, where the fictional creatures took off from the page and held you in a separate rapture, about which there was nothing of shame or disclosure.

But reality supervened. It crashed on to the page. The third-person narratives got stuck. I couldn’t get my creatures up in the morning, let alone dressed and out of the house. The sat like a roomful of outgrown toys, slumped in the corner, when the children have long gone on to other things. They reproached me, with their twisted limbs, their ratty fur, glass eyes hung out on wire.

Instead, something else got up and running. It wasn’t nice. I didn’t like it. But I have to admit it had a certain vitality. The hideous familiarity of certain close relatives, or one of Dostoevsky’s drunks. Affable and manipulative, emptying out his pockets. What’s mine is yours, my dear. Including my degradation, of course.  Any comparison of offerings is vulgar; you know it yourself.  It chuckled at me softly as I fled, and returned at night, when I was Jumpy.

I took a mallet to its hands, as they crept under the shutters. I went for its knees; it just kept on coming. I am the way and the life, it said. Or your life, at any rate. I’ve got your card. It’s marked. ‘


P.S.  “Sarah”, reading your book one quotation stuck in my mind, perhaps because I knew  that you adore the Russian classical authors  : ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’ Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.


10 thoughts on “Eating Pomegranates with my friend

  1. Καρδουλα! τι απαισια που ειναι η ζωη, να σου αλλαζει το προγραμμα και να γραφεις αλλα αντι για αλλα! Τι ωραια γραφη η φιλη σου. Ευχομαι να το ξεπερασει και να αρχισει να γραφει για ανθρωπινες σχεσεις και οτι αλλο θελει. Το εξωφυλλο του βιβλιου της πραγματικα .. εμπνευσμενο. Τελικα δεν εισαι καρδουλα, εισαι μεγαλη καρδια! Φιλακια σπελντ αουτ!

    • Εχει ήδη κάτι άλλο στο μυαλό της αλλά προς το παρόν περνάει αυτή τη γκλαμουρους ζωή που περνάνε οι Αγγλοι επιτυχημένοι συγγραφείς γυρίζει Αμερική και Καναδά για παρουσίαση του βιβλίου της. Ναι το ρόδι έχει νόημα φιλιά και σένα
      p.s αυτό το τελευταίο σου με μπέρδεψε λιγάκι γιατί δεν καταλαβαίνω από το έχεις βγάλει το συμπέρασμα 😯

      • το συμπερασμα προερχεται απο τρια χρονια “νταλαβερι” Θα ξαναγυρισω ομως στο καρδουλα για να μη χαλαω την συνταγη.

      • Despinaki τελικά ο καθένας έχει μια εντελώς προσωπική γνώμη για τον άλλον και πάντα το βλέπουμε τα πράγματα με τα δικά μας βιώματα. Σε ευχαριστώ πολύ γιαυτή την θετική σου διάθεση απέναντι μου !χχο

  2. πολυ ενδιαφέρον. Μακάρι ναφτανε στα χερια μου ενα τετοιο βιβλιο…ελπιζω να ειναι καλα τωρα και το ροδι να την βοηθήσει. Η γιαγιά μου ελεγε ότι ειναι θαυματουργό..φιλια

    • To Ρόδι κατά ένα τρόπο είναι μεταφορικό, οι καρποί του ηταν ακριβώς ήταν αυτά τα μικρά ογκάγκια που βρήκε στο στήθος της. Οταν πάω στην Αγγλία ίσως βρώ ένα αλλο αντίγραφο και στο στείλω είναι γύρω από μητέρα κόρη σχέση τα γονίδια και το καρκίνο αλλά χωρίς ματζούνια και μαγικά εντελώς από επιστημονική πλευρά όπως ταιριάζει στην Σάρα.
      φιλιά ριτσακι

  3. Μικρο, ξέρεις πώς είναι ο τιτλος του βιβλιου του Φουέντες στα ελληνικα; Το βιβλιο πουμας προτείνεις στα δεξιά μας πάνω από την ωραία κεφαλή σου εννοώ ….

  4. Aρχίζει να μου την δίνει και αυτή η κεφαλή!Δεν ξέρω αλλά στα αγγλικά είναι ‘ευτυχισμένες οικογένειες’ ο οποίες είναι όλες ίδιες . Πάρε καλύτερα τον Καλιφατίδη που θα τον βρείς σίγουρα στα βιβλιοπωλεία και είναι ωραίος εχει και χιούμορ 😉

  5. I would love to talk to “Sarah” about her mutation (it’s called BRCA1 M18T and it’s quite unusual). The mutation isn’t Greek but hey we may all need a little Greek connection once in a while

  6. Absolutely true! As an honourable Dutch gentleman said: the Greeks are everywhere and everything, the first step to East coming from the West and the other way around. !!Dimitri I’ll pass your comment & e-mail to Sarah. I’m sure she will help you. Thanks for the comment

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