The early bonds of friendship were forged between Daniela Norris and Shireen Anabtawi before they had time to realise they were, or should be, ‘enemies’. Daniela is Israeli while Shireen is Palestinian. While they could meet in a neutral setting like a party in Geneva, where they were both working at the time, it would not be possible for them to spend time together when they returned to their respective homelands.
Crossing Qalandiya is a beautifully-written book, taking the form of a series of letters between the two women over a period of eighteen months in 2008 and 2009, charting the development of their friendship, exploring the differences and similarities of their cultures… Read more
At the start of this book, we see Harold Fry sitting at the breakfast table “freshly shaved, in a clean shirt and tie”. He thinks “he might like to go out, but the only thing to do was mow the lawn and he had done that yesterday.” His wife Maureen is hoovering before breakfast. In these simple domestic scenes, we learn a lot about this elderly couple and their relationship, since he is retired, yet still makes the effort to dress as though going to work and she is obsessive about everything being just right.
Harold receives a letter from an old work colleague, Queenie Hennessy who is dying in a hospice. She “is writing to say goodbye.” Harold pens a reply, goes out to post it,… Read more
Sapna Sinha has already seen more than her fair share of tragedy and hardship. The eldest daughter in a family of three, she has lost one sister and her father. She is the breadwinner and mainstay of the rest of her family: an ailing mother and a self-obsessed younger sister. When she is approached by one of the country’s richest men and offered an unbelievable opportunity, she is naturally sceptical. But circumstances conspire to draw her, against her will, into his scheme. She is told if she can pass seven tests from ‘the textbook of life’, she will become CEO of his company.
What follows is a thrilling, fast-paced chronicle of six months in Sapna’s life. She is challenged,… Read more