The Chef

what lays upon the kitchen bench
is perfectly normal to us
utensils
oils
seasoning
a decorative fruit display

a metallic pan
warming
frying chunks of flesh
hacked from the body
cut from a carcass
or a corpse
disguised and devoured

the slaughterhouse supervisor
interviewed and unaware
of the secret filming
denied anything untoward

though the reporter
with a hidden camera in his backpack
reported
scenes too gruesome to broadcast

hind tendons slashed
to make controlling easier
a knife in the eye
to twist the head closer
to the butcher’s knife

and there it lays
delicately sliced
oiled
seasoned
frying
upon the kitchen bench

soon to become
one with our bodies
and us to become
one with
tortured flesh

A few books of late

a j fikry

I bought The Collected Works of A. J. Fikry (a novel) after reading the blurb and being instantly interested. It sounded great: a misanthropic bookseller, that was actually enough. This book was also in Whitcoulls ‘Joan’s Picks’ and I’d read a few of her recommendations before and had enjoyed them. It started off well, the first thirty or so pages, I thought I was in for something special. Then… It turned into the worst book I’ve read in years.

Imagine a cool, moody, drunkard of a book seller (think Bernard Black from Black Books), so far so good, but then somebody leaves a baby in his shop and he is almost instantly transformed into super-community-minded-dad-of-the-year, *vomit*. Then it just turns to the most predictable plot I’ve ever read. I was actually groaning because it was soooo predictable. And to make matters worse the author inserted a whole bunch of ‘classic’ quotes and references to authors and poets, which felt too forced.

But it seems like this is a really popular book and is getting good reviews. So, maybe I missed something, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t. I hated it.

crusoe

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe was a brilliant book. I loved every minute of it, and found it both entertaining and full of explorable themes. Not much to say really other than if you ain’t read it, do it 🙂

Foe

And the reason for my pre-reading of Robinson Crusoe was in preparation for this book. Currently my favourite author EVER!, Coetzee has written a beautiful, if unexpected, book which is, and I quote, “the most profound book ever written about race relations in a society where whites were often separated from blacks by an abyss of linguistic and cultural incomprehension.”

Susan Barton is shipwrecked with Cursoe on his island then saved. She tries to have her story written by Foe who seems intent on embellishing it. But it is so much more than that: It’s about them trying to give a voice to the tongueless Friday, which explores language and power (and I stole that from Wikipedia). But it is sooo good. Actually I think I need to read it again.

nyc

Words cannot describe the sheer magnitude and genius of this book. Incredible is an injustice. It brims with power and the existential dilemma of identity as a writer (sort of like the end of Elizabeth Costello). It flooded me with confusion too, brain scattering connections that could not be made, and by the time I finished it was so unsure what I’d read that I had no choice but to delve into deconstructive essays on it, this helped a lot. Actually without them I’d never have guessed at the book’s true purpose.

Worth a read, worth an exploration, worth analysis and worth it once you get it.