I started the book in 2013, but since I finished it in 2014, it counts. So here is Book One of Fifty Two.
No plot, no twists, no turns. Reading this book is like watching someone’s life lazily pass by. A book filled with understated emotions and unsaid words that stay with you long after you finish it. You have small characters that come and go, like the neighbour who marinated her husband in chillies and Joseph, the onion hating supervisor- servant. Then there is Mister Salgado’s assistant who ‘grows a beard’ and Dias, whom you could say is the the only other recurring character after Miss Nili. And there’s a lot of food.
Triton’s attraction towards Miss Nili just hangs there heavy, and you half wait for something to explode. Foreigners come and go, eat turkey and cake, and again, you wait for something to happen. The political turmoil gets fleeting mentions and you again wait for something to shake up the idyllic little life in that house. But though the political situation seems to be just a distant backdrop the strong undercurrent can be felt throughout the book. And in the end you realise that the war ( let me call it that) is the hero and the villian in the book. It was the war that made Triton move into Mister Salgado’s house in the beginning and it is the same war that marks the end.
And in between, a lifetime passes by.
I’ll give Reef four stars.