Monthly Archives

August 2016

Of pearls, beautiful young men and fine linen: an appreciation of Cheri.

By Storytelling 2 Comments

One of my favourite novels is Cheri, by the French author, Colette. It tells the story of a beautiful young man who is cossetted and spoiled by his mistress – in the dominating sense of that word – and lover, Léa, an older woman. The book opens in Léa’s boudoir, where she is dressing, and Chéri is lounging on her messy bed, naked except for a long string of Léa’s pearls. ‘Give them to me,’ he says, commanding, then pleading, then seductive. The pearls look beautiful on her, Léa reflects as she dresses, but they look even more beautiful on Chéri….

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The Female Face of War

By Life 2 Comments

“He’s afraid now that I will remember the wrong thing. That I will tell it not the way I’m supposed to,” says a woman in Svetlana Alexievich’s book about Soviet women’s experience of fighting in World War II, ‘War’s Unwomanly Face’. It applies to women’s experience of conflict and war everywhere, though: Once women stop being victims, and become combatants, physically, or psychologically, they are met with unease. Women are silenced on the topic of war, by men and women, and also by the traditions and genres of journalism, history and publishing. “We usually think of wars as something that men…

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