I’m into Something Good

An obsequious, chastened Pious brought him the gin on the stoop. Morgan poured two inches into a glass full of ice, added some bitters and a dash of water. He hated the drink but it seemed the apt thing to do; end of a tropical day, sundowners and all that.

That’s not the way to mix a Pink Gin. William Boyd, born in 1952, was brought up in Ghana and Nigeria and knows the drill. In this short story, Next Boat from Douala, Morgan is First Secretary at Nkongsamba’s Deputy High Commission. Boyd is adding a further brushstroke to his portrait of him as an unhappy outsider. In fact Morgan went on to greater things. He is the anti-hero of Boyd’s first novel, A Good Man in Africa.

I have taken Boyd’s collection of short stories as holiday reading erroneously believing it to be a novel. Short stories are splendid so long as they are written by Damon Runyon, Saki or PG Wodehouse. Small doses of other authors may be taken, but only in moderation.

My other holiday reading is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It is his second novel, published in 2014, and won him a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction the following year. I have just started – only on page seven – and it’s promising. Incidentally I’m drinking Ouzo and water. I forgot to pack Angostura Bitters and half – or full – bottles of whiskey are not available in Lidl in Nuremberg.

But I think I’m into something good with Anthony Doerr.

4 thoughts on “I’m into Something Good”

  1. Doeer is ever so close to Dürer, Franconia’s favourite son, so there’s that going for it too, but on the other hand, there is room to question the wisdom of taking on holiday a book that I for one found impossible to put down, unless one is snowed in. Your photographs suggest not.

    I so far have hesitated, but the scales have tipped, and over and above searching out Albrecht Dürer, should your time not yet be fully allocated, there is a marvellous collection of musical instruments in the National Museum, and much more besides.

    And not far inside the walls, not breached until by the Americans, not that far from the Hauptbahnhof, should you walk by Sankt Klara Church, consecrated 1274, do pop in. It is an open church in the care of the Jesuits, and the contemporary interior renovations are of a simple elegance well worthy of a diversion.

    1. I opened your comment in Munich. I did visit Dürer’s house but I missed Sankt Clara although I visited two other churches of a similar period.

  2. I don’t know, ouzo and water in Nuremberg in the middle of winter? It just does not sound right. Hope the book makes up for the limited choice at Lidl.

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