Friday, 12 May 2017

Review: The Orange Grove by Larry Tremblay

 

Ever since I first saw a few of these novellas by Periene Press in a bookshop I was drawn under their spell; their beautiful design from the minimalist connecting covers to the inside flaps, paper texture, and the publishers note on why they chose to publish it, everything is so well considered and that's before we get to the fiction contained inside. After loving the first two I read (The Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman & The Looking-Glass Sisters) I decided to collect them and now I've have been sent a copy of their newest 'The Orange Grove' to review. I love reading but have never attempted to write a review before, so here goes...

The story is set in an unknown country which could be nowhere and everywhere in a time that has experienced a war; it could even be all a dream, as you often hope reality is. But Aziz & Ahmed always come back to the Orange Grove; the gathering of fruit in the harvest, the flowers, the canopy's shade, the dirt and rocks the oranges grow out of. These sights and smells of the Orange Grove ground you to a simple domestic oasis of home, nature, the earth, where you came from, your country, your father and mother.

Aziz & Ahmed are twin brothers who live by the Orange Grove next to where their grandparents were recently killed by a bomb which came from the other side of the mountain. The local militants decide that revenge & honour must be sought by their father who has to choose one of his sons to sacrifice.

The bones of the story is given up in the blurb, when you know that one of the brothers has to be sacrificed by wearing a suicide belt and the implications this has on the brother that survives. As you await the inevitable fate of one of the brothers the story unfolds through a quiet, beautiful, poetic tale of truth, lies, duty, brainwashing, honour/dishonour and a mother's undying love for her sons. 

The Orange Grove forces you to view war from this small family perspective, they could easily be you, having to live your life, raise your children through bombs, suicide vests, militants and having to keep your family's honour intact so the future is still bearable. This family living through the horrors of war teaches you about tolerance, compassion, love and circumstances. 

The Orange Grove left me at a stalement, as life and war often does, with no peace in sight, only questions. How does the future recover from the scars of war, how is one person's life worth more than another, why are innocent children always involved? War has always been a part of history and sadly I feel it always will be, but those losses and lives buried under miles of earth sometimes can grow into oranges. 

A heartbreakingly beautiful read that will be with me a long time, teaching me more about tolerance, compassion and love, I highly recommend it.

Thanks to Periene Press and go check out all their books!




SaveSave

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Sundial & S-Town Podcast


I listened to the S-town podcast in the first couple of days after it was released & loved it, it's not really a crime story, it's really just an exploration of a fascinatingly unique man, John B McLemore.

In homage to him & the podcast I created a little linocut of a sundial with a sad motto, 'Omnes Vulnerant, Ultima Necat' or for all those non-latin speakers out there 'All Hours Wound; the last one kills' (That motto just kills me!)



Saturday, 4 March 2017

Judy Garland Linocut Print


I've just recently been drawn into the world of musicals & who best to introduce me to them than Judy Garland, here classic Meet Me In St Louis, with the most amazing Trolley Song (shot on the first take), The Wizard of Oz & Easter Parade, I look forward to watching others too.


  

 So to celebrate her in all her fabulousness I created a linocut print which features a beautiful quote of hers: 'Always be a first rate version of yourself, instead of a second rate version of somebody else' It's now for sale in my etsy shop 


Here's the print framed in gold on an old illustrated copy of 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' by Frank L. Baum.

& for all the Judy Lovers out there here's a little spotify playlist of all my favourite Judy at the moment:

 

Thanks Judy!



Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Happy Burns Night Linocut

 

Happy Burns Night! Hope you're having fun reciting the 'Tam O'Shanter' & piping in the Haggis! To celebrate I created a linocut print in honour of Robert Burns detailing some of his famous works. I love my little tartan book of his poems & songs which is just right to dip into when I want to conjure the wild, free Highlands of Scotland & a Scottish accent! The A4 print is available to buy in my shop.


The print details aspects of his well known works including; roses for 'My Love is like a Red Red Rose', A haggis, mouse & a louse for his Addresses' to each of them, the Scottish Highlands for his 'My Heart's in the Highland's' & 'Wild Mountainside' also put in the NYE classic 'Auld Lang Syne' & the beautiful 'Ae Fond Kiss'.


Here's the linocut block, I can now write in joined up writing backwards! 

It's also available on Redbubble on T-shirts, cards, homewares etc, I love the tote bag!

Also why not have a look at my Burns Night Illustrations from 2016, 20152014!