Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The little red chairs - Edna O'Brien

"You would not believe how many words there are for home and what savage music there can be wrung from it." Edna O'Brien ~ The little red chairs

I finished The Little Red Chairs by Edna O'Brien yesterday and what a novel 🌠I'm word-less 💜 More than the story, and the way it was told, it is O'Brien's way of looking at the world & at the people in it, that I love. With O'Brien, I've found a writer who is tuned to the same rhythm I feel around me, she captures the same colours & sounds I see and hear. And she makes me understand them better, and see them clearer. Now that's quite rare isn't it 💙 and it should be.

The story is set in a remote Irish village in which, one day, Dr Vlad arrives and settles. Vague about his past, but presenting himself as a healer, Vlad slowly becomes a member of this closely-knit community. Fidelma, a married woman who has not been able to have children with her husband & who badly wants a child, approaches Vlad asking him to father her a child. Vlad agrees & warns her this is not an affair. Once she falls pregnant, they stop seeing each other but it is too late. Everyone knows. And it is the moment when Vlad gets arrested and his true identity is revealed. He was the Butcher of Bosnia, who was behind the Sarajevo siege and massacre. Fidelma is now in danger. After the horrendous attack she suffers, she flees to England and tries to understand the part she has played in the life of this war criminal, and he in hers. An exploration of the notion of 'sin', and of its weight.

'The little red chairs' is a reference to the 11,541 red chairs lined & left empty in Sarajevo in remembrance of the victims of the 44-month siege of the city, 643 of them were for children. Rest in peace.

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