It’s been a while since I wrote about what I was reading for some reason. I did read quite a bit, though.
Some of the books were worth sharing, but I was too lazy to talk about them.
Some were important for me to read – like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The Perks of Being a Wallflower taught me, finally, what a ‘coming-of-age’ novel is. Honestly, I was not old enough to read it when I was physically coming of age. Maybe children today are; maybe they aren’t. I could, at best, have read it seven years ago, definitely not in my teens.
The novel that now brings me back to writing about books is Tanya Landman’s Apache. With a workshop on books coming up tomorrow, I have been reflecting again on how little we read. There’s so much variety in the world, and we put everything into little boxes that we label ‘fantasy’, ‘historical fiction’, ‘school stories’, ‘fairy tales’… and make decisions about what genres we like. The decisions, more than our preferences, determine what we read.
Apache was lovely. I remembered reading The Goldsmith’s Daughter some time ago, and I enjoyed it enough to actively look for another book by Tanya Landman. Apache touched the same part of my being, not the part that likes ‘historical fiction’ (I don’t know if that part exists), but the part that loves inter-cultural, truly human stories like Walkabout and Journey to the River Sea.
Siki, a young Apache warrior, is torn by the complexity of who she is. She does not belong with the women, sewing and making mud vases. Fleet of foot, she wants to hunt with her tribe. More than anything, she wants to avenge her brother’s death, the duty and privilege of a warrior.
I loved Apache for how much it taught me about a culture I do not know. Colonisation seen through the Apache eyes filled me with a sense of loss. The course of history has been so strange, so incomprehensible.
Siki, unique yet typical, forms the perfect voice to tell the tale.
“But first I will live, and I will fight.
For I am a warrior.
I am Apache.”