The Musings of a Boho Girl

bōˈhēmēən (noun) 1. a free spirit ; 2. a writer; 3. an explorer of the Avant-Garde.

Tag: London

Ali Smith Discussion: Public Library and other stories

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Her book is everywhere including The NT Bookshop

I wasn’t planning on writing a post this early. In fact I’m still overjoyed that I met Ali Smith. She’s brilliant and really lovely too. I almost didn’t make it to the event. At 17:00 I was stuck in a cab on Jamaica Road telling my driver that I rearranged my entire trip just to come to this event. He becomes quite determined and begins backing up and turns left then the driver takes an alternate route that leads us off Jamaica Road. I’m not familiar with South East London, but we traveled down a number of different streets just to go around the traffic jam.

When we finally reach the venue, my fare is £59 and he tells me to just forget it, to go inside and get my book signed. He’s the kindest cab driver in the world. So I went in late, but it was a fantastic evening. I would do it all over again even if there were only ten minutes of discussion, although it was much longer. Smith discussed her new collection of stories and who influenced them. There were readings from her book. If you’re local, try to get to King’s College London: Inventing the modern novel on November 9, 2015 (18:30-20:00). Ali Smith is thoughtful and engaging with her audience. I’d love to be able to hear how modernist literature has influenced her work, such as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. She’s truly remarkable. I can’t wait to start reading Public Library and other stories.

A Collection of Essays: Mohsin Hamid’s Discontent and Its Civilizations

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“Ours is a nation of minorities: a patchwork of cultures, ethnicities, languages and sects.” Mohsin Hamid

Several years ago while living in London, I read The Reluctant Fundamentalist. This is important for two reasons: 1) I discovered the best flat white in the city (a Soho cafe on Berwick Street) and 2) Hamid’s powerful story. The distinct narrative. Changez, an eighteen-year old Pakistani comes to Princeton intent on seeking the American dream; he graduates, gets a job in the financial sector and then falls in love with Erica. I saw Erica as a symbol of America (or perhaps the American dream), flawed but beautiful; enticing but ultimately unattainable. It’s an intriguing story, the relationship between Changez and Erica is interesting. Life for Changez changes Post 9/11, as a Pakistani people see him differently — with suspicion. I loved reading The Reluctant Fundamentalist, it’s an amazing novel that was shortlisted for the Man Booker.

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Reading Zadie Smith

“A good book is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility what human nature is of what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.” — Susan Sontag

I did not know Willesden, not the Willesden that exists in Zadie Smith’s novel, White Teeth. Her North West London seemed far from my little corner in Hoxton. London as a whole still felt foreign to me, so I read White Teeth as an outsider, not really understanding the multicultural setting that Smith described. Silence followed, at least, in class discussions. Multiculturalism in London felt more authentic than the American version, which seemed forced in some ways. Racial tensions never seemed apparent in London or perhaps, I wasn’t looking for them. White Teeth was published five years before I moved to the UK. Time changes us so it wasn’t strange to think a country may have evolved. While my classmates were looking at their culture, I was examining a culture that I did not really know yet. Smith made the plot accessible and slowly I understood the London in her novel.

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An Ode To Coldplay

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment that I fell in love with Coldplay; the sun was disappearing on Old Street, I was looking at Banksy’s Pulp Fiction mural then rain began to fall as it often does in London and I heard a song that I must’ve listened to a dozen times: “We Never Change.” This time I heard the lyrics; “So I want to live in a wooden house/ Making more friends would be easy/ I want to live where the sun comes out.” For the first time I could hear Chris Martin’s voice; those quiet and persistent qualities that were ethereal and beautiful. The inherent dichotomy within his voice mesmerised me. I haven’t been able to let go. Read the rest of this entry »