book review: The Dinner

The Dinner by Herman Klock

The Dinner by Herman Koch

Last night I couldn’t bear to shut my eyes. But after having been home for over a week, I can’t blame the jet lag. I felt compelled to finish Herman Koch’s The Dinner. And now I feel compelled to urge you to read it too.

Basic plot is that two couples meet in a fancy restaurant in Amsterdam to discuss an outrage perpetrated by their sons. While the teenage boys’ antics are pretty shocking, it was the break down of civilized adult behaviour as the meal progresses which chilled me to the core.  Oh and the extent to which parents go to defend their offspring…

Each course of the dinner brings us a new chapter of information.  Spread out onto the table with more than a sprinkling of tension, it’s truly gripping. With a complex brother relationship, a large helping of insincerity and a side of hypocritical attitudes, you’ll feel full of angst as you read on to find out how this meal can possibly end.

The book raises questions of inappropriate social behaviour, family ( as well as non-biological) bonds, our love-hate relationship with politicians and the ultimate revelation that parents are honestly not so different from their children.

It’s a brilliantly constructed novel (I just dashed into a bookshop in LA and bought it when I realised I was out of reading material) and I’d love to hear what you all think… once the meal is over.

The Dinner by Herman Koch

 

 

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Competition: Village England’s Ickford

Incase I sound like a broken record, I apologise now.

But honestly, now IS great time for a new handbag and this month’s blog sponsor, Village England, has got all the arm candy you deserve at non-eyewatering prices.

even Mini is trying on a Village England bag!

even Mini is trying on a Village England bag!

Talking of deserving, you – my dear readers – are in for a massive treat as I’ve been whizzing around Village England‘s various stockists to find the perfect Life of Yablon bag as a fabulous competition prize!

my orange Cranleigh on a boat this summer!

my orange Cranleigh on a boat this summer!

I could hardly wait to drop into Anthropologie on Regent Street (the leather bag company’s latest stockist) and found their Newlyn in red cozying-up to this season’s stunning new fashion…

village england in anthropologie

But the bag I’ve singled out (and worn out all month!) is the Ickford in patent (£195).

my patent Ickford with other patent goodies

my patent Ickford with other patent goodies

It had to be a cross body bag as that’s always my first criteria. The jet black full grain patent leather makes it perfect for day–to-night and the thick chocolate bridle leather trim makes it feel that bit more casual as well as desperately well made.

The bag’s internal pockets are strategically placed so that they work perfectly – never more than 2 seconds away from my iPhone, Oyster card nor lip gloss!

Oh and it closes magically and magnetically.

All you have to do is LIKE both Village England and Life of Yablon’s Facebook page and SHARE the competition post while telling us what you would pop into your Ickford bag? The winner will be chosen at random on 30th September 2014 and notified on Facebook.  Good luck!

Check out the FULL range of Village England bags here and read my interview with the bag’s designer here.

 

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Kasabian at iTunes Festival

10 years ago a British rock band was breaking the scene. Except that I wasn’t rocking’ in the least bit. I was either heavily pregnant or pushing a buggy about town and Kasabian would have entirely passed me by. Actually, the baby fog continued for me and, over the course of the decade, these homegrowners (from Leicester) have immersed as the nation’s party band.

Kasabian iTunes Festival

Music friend snuck me into their iTunes Festival performance last night at Camden’s Roundhouse and – from our press seats – we observed rather than throwing any moves.

Kasabian iTunes Festival at Camden's Roundhouse

They’re our Oasis’ she reliably informed me. ‘If we had been at uni 10 years ago, we’d be going as mental as the pit below.’

Kasabian iTunes Festival

So, who is behind this mega band that recently headlined Glastonbury?

Well, Meighan is Kasabian’s lead singer (above) and clearly a leader at that.  Personally, I couldn’t see the appeal - and I was looking really hard.

Serge Pizzorno (below) is the band’s main songwriter and strongly objects to Kasabian being compared with Oasis and The Stone Roses.

Kasabian iTunes Festival

As the digital-download-player’s festival is secretly focused music sales (while gifting the pleasure of live music to the few and a stream to the masses), Kasabian chose to perform their entire new album, 48.13.

Already downloaded at Life of Yablon HQ and honestly loving tracks such as Eez-eh and Bumblebeee, I curiously wasn’t rocking this live performance at all.

In fact, we left a little before the end. The Roundhouse was properly kicking so we slipped away silently feeling 10 years too old.

 

 

 

 

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a (rare) moment of middle age joy

I’m not SO predictable. I like to think. To fit the mould (I fight), I’d sit here and write how divine it is to have an empty house after the long weeks of summer madness. I’d wax lyrical about the calm and quiet, adding probably that the Smalls were delighted to leave their screamer of a mother.

the last of the summer sun?

the last of the summer sun?

And then it would make sense to mention the September/back to school angle. What a fine excuse it is for us all to readdress what we want to achieve in this next school year – plus the very tempting opportunity to snatch a fabulous new season handbag/coat/pencil case (fail to delete as you desire).

But actually my thoughts are elsewhere this week. I’m thinking about how brilliant it is to be middle aged. Not necessarily a thought I often have. I’m thinking about all those advantages that little bit of age gives you: the confidence to be who you want to be and not really caring too much how you come across. Because anyone you like is going to be totally accepting of you and the way you are.

It’s taken a while for me to get here, I must admit. Even recently, I have been bothered enough to lose sleep over troubled friendships. However, this summer I did the maths and worked out that we (the over 35s) don’t need to worry anymore about those god-awful, petty arguments. All that wasted energy and anguish is meant for the school playground.

So, as far as I’m concerned, experimenting with vibrant eye shadow, forgetting the names of people’s offspring and applying military precision to your craft cupboard are more than allowed. As is sitting alone in a café wondering how it’s September already… which is what I might just do today.

This article first appeared in my Mum About Town column in The Lady Magazine.

 

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