Or any other compass direction for that matter, just get out of Christchurch for a bit. I went to Auckland last week, where the full impact of how our earthquake lives have changed hit home. It was the footwear that got to me in the end. High strappy sandals in bright sunny colours for the women and polished Italian shoes for the men.
Will I ever again see shoes like that pounding the streets of Christchurch? To cheer myself up I actually bought a book and repaired to the nearest coffee shop – which had collected $181.60 for my home town. This kindness made me feel as if I came from a far away galaxy where the citizens are very old and wise and wear ugly shoes.
As for the book – this is the first time that Annie Proulx (she of The Shipping News fame) has let me down. In her memoir Bird Cloud she manages to both welcome her readers in and simultaneously lock us out. Apparently, even the very rich and famous (who clearly have not watched enough episodes of Grand Designs) can also make disastrous property decisions.
In Proulx’s effort-filled building project, the house sounds dire, the landscape forbidding and the endless pondering over minute archaeological scraps left me stone cold. But it was only when I found myself having uncharitable thoughts about migratory birds that I got out the killer heels.
Back home, I’ve been so relentlessly positive lately that I found it quite hard to stick the stiletto into this book. Now it’s done, I feel so much better. As Lionel Shriver said: It’s OK to hate a book.
So, join me and cross over to your dark side. Which books do you love to hate?