A book picked up by chance. I read the first page and have had difficulty in putting it down. Someone must have left it behind when visiting, because I don't remember acquiring it myself. It is Un barrage contre le Pacifique by Marguerite Duras. A serendipitous read.
In Calverley Road shopping precinct, a gypsy guitarist plays. Standing beside him a barefoot dark haired girl in as black dress performs a few rhythmic steps, not quite flamenco. Outside a coffee shop, a young woman cradles her baby and pats its back in time with the music.
A child says to her mother: "I want a drink".
" Say, may I have a drink please, Mummy", says the mother, holding the drink out of the child's reach. " She pronounces the word Mummy in a staccato way with emphasis equally on both syllables. "May I have a drink please, Mum-my," says the child mimicking perfectly her mother's way of saying Mum-my." There is a note of long-suffering and a quiver of resentment in her voice. It is the resentment which comes from an innate sense of superiority. She must be four or thereabouts. What will she be like at 14?