Archive for May 8, 2009

I finished reading The Foreigner, Francie Lin’s Edgar winning debut novel, and I can now see why it won. 

The exotic but corrupt location, the very powerful themes of family loyalty and respect, and the terrible crimes related in the latter part of the book all make this a moving read. But also the reader is educated by the characters Atticus and Angel into the politics of Taiwan and there are some interesting passages;

It says Taiwan was refused entry into the WHO for diplomatic reasons. Meaning for fear of offending China…….
China prefers we die rather than let us go. Other countries, they prefer that we die rather than risk offending China.

The story is spoilt for me in that the narrator Emerson Chang is pusillanimous and more than one occasion cannot see what is staring him in the face. I get the impression that the very attractive Francie Lin has had some ‘Emersons’ in her life and had to write this novel to get this sharply drawn character out of her system. 
It was not the fact that Emerson was not physically brave but his unwillingness to accept the truth about his brother, Little P, that I found a bit strange. 
Perhaps in her next novel Francie Lin will give us a more intuitive protagonist.


Posted: May 8, 2009 in Uncategorized


I try to avoid blogging about politics, it is too depressing, but today I am going to break that rule. 

The scandalous abuse of the  MPs expenses system which has been published today in the Daily Telegraph would be disgraceful at any time, but when most people are facing the results of Brown’s laissez faire regulatory system it is outrageous. 
These cabinet ministers spend time manipulating the system and then claim accountancy is not their strong suit; in plain language they claim they can not add up. Are they are too busy to be honest?

If the unemployed or those on low incomes make a mistake with the complicated benefit claim forms the possibility of fraud is raised, but for these people on large salaries, it is an oversight, an error, an inconsistency, a gaffe, a miscalculation.

They should be ashamed of themselves and are clearly not fit to govern the country.

From the zeros in the Cabinet to a young hero Harvey Philips, aged 4, who lost three limbs to meningitis as a baby and has taken up ballet and by all accounts smiles all the time.

Harvey deserves a better government.

You have been sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart I say and let us have done with you, in the name of God, go!

Oliver Cromwell, April 1653, repeated in the Norway debate by Leo Amery 7 May 1940

[Photo of Harvey Phillips from The Sun website]