Ads 468x60px

Sunday, September 11


It was the day Fairy Godmother ties the knot with her long time boyfriend. SpongeBob and I were waiting for two more friends who would go with us to attend the wedding ceremony in one of the churches inside the Walled City.

Three o’clock in the afternoon was the agreed call time. I was there at the meeting place first, followed by SpongeBob. I checked my phone for the time, and it says 3:30PM. “We’re running late. Tch... tch.. tch,” I told myself. The Ceremony starts at four in the afternoon.

I got bored in waiting for the others, so I decided to check out the book sale at NBS. There’s a stack of books on sale for less than a hundred pesos, so I went in to check it. Among the pile, a certain book caught my eye:

 And I got for…


Thirty pesos.


This acutely funny, intelligent and unsettling novel charts the trajectory of a woman’s life and a couple’s relationship during the last decade of the twentieth century. Against a backdrop of seismic nineties, and framed by the Lockerbie air disaster and the attack on the Twin Towers, it’s the story of Genevieve O’Dowd, a strangely unaware psychiatric nurse, a wife, a mother, daughter, who’s trying to keep a whole lot of stuff airborne while things fall apart, inside and out.

Her husband Mark is a filmmaker, usually absent, on small–budget art films (The Snow Queen) in out–of–the–way places. But as his career takes off, and star–vehicle big budget movies beckon (Hans Andersen can always be upscaled), her life stalls on babies, breastfeeding, builders. This is her narrative, addressed to him, trying to make sense of their lives and the forces — external and internal, family history and genetics, ambition and domesticity — which pull them apart. Her work, which drives her nuts but keeps her sane, her anarchic friend and colleague Sid and that sad, crazed women in their charge provide a hilarious, heartbreaking backdrop to a world going off the rails.

Veering between farce and tragedy, and set in London and on various flight paths and film locations around the globe, this tale of marriage and mortar, love and lobotomies, DNA and denial is a dazzling debut novel — unputdownable, funny and piercingly sad.


The book ends in a chapter which is dated the same day as the terrorist attack on the towers of the World Trade Center. In that last chapter, as the Twin Towers turn into rubble, so does the protagonist's marriage.

And in commemoration of the 9/11 incident, I’d like to post the said chapter.

11th September 2001

Tongue–tied, we avoid one another’s eyes and busy ourselves with tasks that allow us to keep our backs turned. I tape up the last of the moving boxes and write on them. Kitchen. Bathroom. Bedroom.
            I look out at the sky. A wide expanse of afternoon September blue. You turn the radio on to fill the silence. President Bush has snubbed Blair’s request for peace talks on Palestine. A plane has flown into a building in New York.
            I see Catullus go in your bag, watch the nape of your nice and wait for the oyster reflex of pain. It doesn’t come.

I hate and I love.
            And if you ask me how,
I do not know;
            I only feel it, and I’m torn in two.

You feel your pockets. Ticket. Passport. Phone. I move my eyes to look at you. Your face is lowered. You check the time.

            Your mobile rings. The landline rings. Your cab blows its horn outside.


Désolé Boy said...

[A]nd so as a lot of things crumbled, 11th of September 2001, so as a lot of things shall rise.

i am max said...

Very intriguing book. Were you able to read it cover to cover? Do you suggest this read?

Nate said...

@deebee: true!

@i am max: yes, i was able to read it from cover to cover.. but it took me about a month to finish reading it.. ahahah! :P

yes, i would suggest this read. :)

patcegan said...

Interesting blog, lots of good things to explore. Thanks for visiting me! hugs, pat

Nate said...

pat: thanks for finding my blog interesting.. :)

citybuoy said...

Where were you when all this happened?

Nate said...

@nyl: i was at home.. i was still a bit sleepy when I turned the tv on.. i thought it was a movie on star world or HBO. then i realized it was CNN (which means my dad was the last one who turned off the tv, the night before). one tower was hit already and it was in smokes. then, i saw it was live. i shouted and woke my dad. by the time he was seated beside me, the 2nd plane crashed to the other tower. my dad was in a panic and immediately dialed long-distance to our relatives in the US. that's when I realized that it actually happened. It was a terrorist attack, and the security of USA, a super power, was compromised. it was scary.

Post a Comment

Popular Posts