My Fathers’ Daughter by Hannah Pool

My father's daughter book with author on front and my cat in the background

a nutshell: adopted from an orphanage in Eritrea by white parents in 1974, Pool grew up in the UK under the assumption that she has no birth family – that is, until she receives a letter from a brother, leading her on a journey to reunite with them ten years later

a line: “It’s tattooed on your psyche: love is temporary”

an image: for me the most vividly interesting passages in the book were where Pool describes her visits to the family’s villages – the landscape, buildings, habits, festivities

a thought: in order to avoid spoilers, all I’ll say about p.115 is that it moved me to tears and I can’t imagine how Pool felt in that moment

a fact: while I usually share something I learned here, instead I want to share a few things I’d like to know – what was the response to this memoir in Eritrea? did the criticism of the government in Pool’s epilogue trigger any repercussions for her family? has she been back to Eritrea in the 15 years since the book’s publication?

want to read My Fathers’ Daughter? visit here

The Idiot by Elif Batuman

a nutshell: a hilarious punchback to the angst of arriving at adulthood & having no idea where to go from there

a line: “deep down I have a talent for wellbeing. I can feel it”

an image: easygoing/haphazard Selin often finds herself in borderline bizarre situations, e.g. over dinner in a Hungarian village she mulls over the words for how best to avoid encouraging a boy to recommence his painful performance on a recorder

a thought: Selin writes lots about her conviction that she’s good at writing and already is a writer … while simultaneously believing she has written & could never write anything people would like (I identify)

a fact: the most encyclopaedic novel I’ve read in years, full of fun facts especially about language – did you know Turkish has a suffix, -miş, that can be added to verbs to report anything you didn’t witness personally, used mostly for fairy tales or gossip? (Selin says a cousin used it to refer to all the things she had heard Selin was guilty of saying/doing)


want to read The Idiot? visit here