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Poco Poco Accelerando

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Annie Ryall

Why did Jessica feel like a screechy violin?  She could never aspire to the warm, honeyed tones of her cello-like friend Ariadne. She bowed so smoothly through life, her rich artistic talents, her steady, loving partner Chris, her hair long and silky like a Pantene ad. There was something effortless about how she silently glided, always chose the right books to read, while the modest vase of hand-picked wildflowers was placed perfectly just off-centre on her mantelpiece. It was infuriating. Jessica knew envy was an ugly emotion, so kept these thoughts to herself at Book Club, when they all met once a month.

It was her turn to host so she tried a new recipe from the latest offering from Chef of the Year, Tom Hitchcock. Yellow curry and crab souffle with spring onion oil, and finger lime pearls. Well, the spring onion oil hadn’t quite worked – the spring onions were a tad stringy, the crab was 70% de-shelled, and finger limes had been unavailable. She substituted them with ordinary limes so the “pearls” were bits of lime flesh Bookclubbers had to discreetly remove from their teeth. Despite these sour notes, the flavour sang through and after several glasses of wine the mood mellowed.

The book was An Equal Music by Vikram Seth and Ariadne, as usual, was sitting quietly, thinking deeply, while waiting her turn to speak.

“It’s a story of a young man’s growth and maturation- the loss and partial recovery, of his lost love, and the loss, and more certain recovery of his artistic self. It beautifully echoes the Art of Fugue with its contrapuntal rhythms which echo the trajectory of the central relationship in the book.”

Normally, her comments were followed by an awed semibreve of silence with people secretly thinking: Damn that was good - wish I’d said that. But this time Jerry jumped in.


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