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Waiting for Matindi Paperback – 7 Dec 1999

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Bondi Beach Memoirs 24 Oct. 2001
By "hweather" - Published on
Format: Paperback
One recent (and rare!) sunny afternoon here in Seattle I decided I really must go down to the beach. This slim novel, with a picture of two beach chairs on the cover, seemed like a good choice to take along. Indeed it was! The book is a beautiful character study of a woman and her collection of friends in Sydney, Australia.
The writer is spare and economical with her words, but manages to draw vivid portraits of several fragmented individuals. The main character is recovering from surgery while trying to navigate a crumbling relationship with a woman who seems to be much more interested in her famous and wealthy mentor. But it is our narrator's encounters with an assortment of Bondi Beach folk that eventually bring her the strength to chart a new path for herself. There is Elliot, her lover's headbanging teenaged nephew. And there is Doug, who vents his anger at his departed wife Sunshine by literally banging his head against the "no dogs allowed" sign at Bondi Beach until he gets himself arrested, leaving our narrator in charge of his little son Joe. She also winds up in charge of Doug's dog Brucey, who dies a noble (if not patriotic) death on Anzac Day. And Theresa, who wakes her up in the middle of the night to witness an amazing episode of phosphorescence at the beach. It is Theresa who is waiting for Matindi, an exotic and mysterious Kenyan woman. Although we never really get to know Matindi, her elusiveness proves to be a powerful talisman. The act of waiting is a refreshing distraction, and eventually it is this anticipation that brings healing.
This book is only 164 pages long, and before it was time to fold up my beach chair I had finished this well crafted story. I haven't read much lesbian fiction, but the characters in this story were so richly drawn that I could easily picture them there with me at the seashore. Although Bondi Beach is a long way from Seattle I thoroughly enjoyed spending my afternoon waiting for Matindi.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I'M STILL WAITING... 2 Aug. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm still figure out what I'm missing since this book obviously doesn't deliver what the cover blurbs promise. While I enjoyed the character sketches and amusing interludes of the narrator's neighbors, the book went nowhere. When I finished the novel, it was to a "you gotta be kidding me" reaction. No guts, no glory.
3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
What's Your Distraction? 24 Dec. 1999
By Julie L. Shaffer - Published on
Format: Paperback
"Recovering from an operation in the Australian countryside and Bondi Beach, the wry, ever-observant narrator of Helen Hodgman's new novel, 'Waiting for Matindi,' waits as life washes over her like waves on the sand. Sensing that her lover is pulling away, yet feeling powerless in the face of this imminent loss, she is a woman in search of something that will define her life," wrote the Publisher.
The Publisher continued, "Then, into her slowly shattering world comes the promise of change, or at the very least, distraction, with the imminent arrival of Matindi from Kenya. Beautiful, mysterious Matindi. The friend of a friend with an exotic past who becomes a human talisman, the intoxicating allure of expectation--or is she? Somewhere between truth and fiction, laughter and tears, wait the realities that will forever alter this tiny community of friends and lovers."
The main character was not identified with a name, only as the pronoun "I." I addressed her lover as "my lover." I replaced my name as "I" and the woman I have dreamt of as my lover as "my lover." It made the book more interesting for me.
When I (or should I say "I") read, "Not for the first time I asked myself what was I doing here, although I knew the answers anyway." I asked myself this question: "What am I doing here in Seattle, not Fort Wayne, Indiana?" I sometimes don't understand what's going on in my life. I trust, wait, listen to people, listen to myself, and the answer may not come. During those times, I understand that I am right where I need to be, even though that place may feel awkward and uncomfortable. My life does have purpose and direction. I am being changed, healed, and transformed at levels deeper than I can imagine. I am being led and guided on an amazing journey, and Seattle is my path. As "I," I knew the answer. It was within me.
When I read, "I took to swimming in the dark because in the dark no one would see my scars." I understood why 'I' swam in the dark. Her scars from the illness were healing over. I realized why I have been afraid to accept myself in a relationship. Like "I," I have felt as though my (internal) scars have needed the time to heal over. Sporting my water wings, not a life preserver, I am ready to swim towards that special woman, not to settle for just anyone. I deserve the woman, who I can't wait to come home to and share my day with. I want to sneak up behind her in the kitchen and hug her from behind and whisper, "I love you." We are 'in' love with each other.
" lover burst from the bedroom and told me she was sorry, she loved me but she wasn't 'in' love with me if I knew what she meant, which I did, it not being a very original state she was having such difficulty describing." This passage hit home with me. A friend has verbalized to me time and time that she loves her girlfriend; however, she is not 'in' love with her. I don't understand why she is with her. (How about my analysis: "A fear of being alone?" "A fear of being alone with one's self?") I believe people should not settle for anybody to have someone. If one is in a relationship to fill the emptiness or loneliness, it will not work. You probably will feel more emptiness and loneliness - especially when you are only spending Saturday night with your lover. This is what my friend is going through with her relationship.
I e-mailed my friend the following a week ago: "I am confused by our relationship. It is only friends. I know that. I care about you. I would help you. If you are not feeling well, etc., I want you to come to me. I will try my best to take care of you. I feel like I have been giving you the emotional support that your girlfriend needs to provide you with. I feel that I am treating you more like a girlfriend than your girlfriend is. I need to stop treating you like a girlfriend. You need to work on or make choices in your relationship with your girlfriend without me. This doesn't mean that I don't care about you. I do!"
I care deeply about my friend. I love her. I would like the opportunity to find out if I am 'in' love with her. I am not going to sit idly by and wait for her while she discovers the answer that is within her.
I read 48 pages of "Waiting for Matindi" as I stood in line for 45 minutes at the Post Office to mail my brother his Christmas gift. Besides being a quick read, I want to know how Matindi fit into the book. I understand that she was a "distraction" for the main character. She was interspersed between a few chapters. Who is Matindi? Why is the book named after Matindi? "Matindi" may have a special Kenyan definition. I do not know because I do not own a Kenyan dictionary.
If you decide to read "Waiting for Matindi," I hope you discover Matindi, or your distraction!
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