Friday, January 26, 2007

Another expat author launch

Also in today's blog
Death of Patrick O'Brian's publisher

On Saturday, 9 December, I wrote about the launch party, at a restaurant further along the valley in Spain where we live in winter, of Mark Harrison's first novel Missing.

Last night another expat-in-Spain author made her fictional debut with a party at a new beauty salon in the valley's main town. She is Jill Lanchbery and her novel is called A Bucket of Ashes published by Libros International.

Jill Lanchbery's plot is summarised thus –

"As Joanna and Sally, once friends but now separated by time, distance and culture meet again, the two women's lives, past and present intertwine. They are each forced to confront their problems compelling them to make choices they had never wanted or expected to make. Set against the colourful tropical backdrop of Nigeria, it is a novel of passion, intrigue and tragedy, of teenage angst and cultural identity, but above all it is a story of human frailty. Of what happens when people live in such close proximity that adultery becomes almost obligatory and of the goldfish environment in which it flourishes and where emotions are allowed to overrule common

The novel has already had an enthusiastic review, by a man, at Amazon US.

"Reviewer James Parker-Rothchilds (New york USA)
I'd never heard of Jill Lanchbery, but someone passed the book on to me whilst I was climbing the mountains of Southern Spain. The young lady was very attractive and so enthusiastic about the book and I kinda wanted to keep in her good books so decided to flick through the pages that night, purely to have something to talk to her about the next day. (You know how it is guys?) Well, Jill Lanchbery, thank you very much! I eventually fell asleep around 4 the next morning (I think.) and consequently slept through the alarm to wake me for breakfast. I missed my food and a potentially fulfilling day walking with the lovely dark haired beauty Emily. Thanks a lot Jill. Never mind. I sat overlooking the Med and finished the book by the time Emily arrived back that afternoon. What a gal! Sensational! She pulled at my heartstrings like no other girl I've ever known! Emily was quite nice too!"

For a European to marry a Nigerian, however nice, handsome and well-connected, seems to me an act of folly on both sides. [Yesterday, reading that a Nigerian chief's son had just become the first black Grenadier Guards officer, I tried to find an online photograph of Second Lieutenant Folarin Adeyemi Olatokunbo Olugbemiga Kuku but was unsuccessful.] The fact is that love can surmount a lot of obstacles, but not differences in a couple's most fundamental beliefs. Jill Lanchbery's heroine, unable to provide her Nigerian with a son, has to put up with him taking another wife who can.

Perhaps the most famous love story between an African man and an English woman is that of Sir Seretse Khama KBE [1921-1980] who became the first President of Botswana and is remembered for bringing peace and prosperity to the formative years of his nation.

Wikipedia tells us - "In June of 1947, Khama met Ruth Williams, an English clerk at Lloyd's of London, and after a year of courtship, married her. The interracial marriage sparked a furore among both the apartheid government of South Africa and the tribal elders of the Bamangwato. On being informed of the marriage, Khama's uncle Tshekedi Khama demanded his return to Bechuanaland and the annulment of the marriage. Khama did return to Serowe but after a series of kgotlas (public meetings), was re-affirmed by the elders in his role as the kgosi. Ruth Williams Khama, travelling with her new husband, proved similarly popular. Admitting defeat, Tshekedi Khama left Bechuanaland, while Khama returned to London to complete his studies."

If you're not already thoroughly disillusioned about politicians and their base motives, read what Wikipedia has to say about the shameful behaviour of both British political parties towards the young Seretse Khama.

"However, the international ramifications of his marriage would not be so easily resolved. Having banned interracial marriage under the apartheid system, South Africa could not afford to have an interracial couple ruling just across their northern border. As Bechuanaland was then a British protectorate, the South African government immediately exerted pressure to have Khama removed from his chieftainship. Britain's Labour government, then heavily in debt from World War II, could not afford to lose cheap South African gold and uranium supplies. There was also a fear that South Africa might take more direct action against Bechuanaland, through economic sanctions or a military incursion. The British government therefore launched a parliamentary enquiry into Khama's fitness for the chieftainship. Though the investigation reported that he was in fact eminently fit for the rule of Bechuanaland, "but for his unfortunate marriage", the government ordered the report suppressed (it would remain so for thirty years), and exiled Khama and his wife from Bechuanaland in 1951. In 1952, a new Conservative government declared the exile permanent."

Patrick O'Brian's publisher dies

Obit in today's The Times.
"November 9, 1923 - January 21, 2007
Editor and author who published the novels of Patrick O'Brien [sic] and wrote books on the Civil War, Pepys and naval history
Richard Ollard was one of the most civilised men of letters in postwar Britain. From 1948 to 1959 he was a lecturer in history at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. Thereafter he was senior editor at Collins, a key figure in probably the strongest editorial team in British publishing. When he retired in 1983, already a leading authority on the English 17th century and the Royal Navy, he devoted himself largely to authorship."

Finally, a thank you to Australian reader Treva for her comment on yesterday's blog. I expect to be back on Monday. AW


At 30 January, 2007, Anonymous Anne said...

"For a European to marry a Nigerian, however nice, handsome and well-connected, seems to me an act of folly on both sides"

The definition of "folly" is 1. the state or quality of being foolish, 2. a foolish action, idea etc.

I find it hard to believe that you really feel this way about interacial marriages. They are not easy and make a lot of demands on both partners, families and friends, but they are not foolish.

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