Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)


Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)


Article excerpt

BOOK OF THE WEEK Love Like Salt: A Memoir by Helen Stevenson Publisher: Virago Price: PS14.99 Hardback (ebook PS7.99) "THE child will soon die whose brow tastes salty when kissed," warned an ancient medical textbook. Nowadays we know this to be the genetic condition cystic fibrosis, which prevents salt passing easily from one cell to the next.

The life expectancy of such children is improving all the time, but it's still a diagnosis to drive a dagger into a parent's heart.

Helen Stevenson's memoir of raising a daughter with cystic fibrosis in rural France - whilst simultaneously dealing with her mother's dementia - is far from being a sisterly, accessible account of the Sandwich Generation. Anyone who expects that will be disappointed.

Stevenson is not Everywoman, nor wants to be. Instead, she devotes long passages of the book to spiritual and philosophical musings, and penetrating observations about French society.

Stick with it: this is a beautiful love letter to her family from an intelligent woman who has had to dig deep just to survive.

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FICTION The Senility Of Vladimir P by Michael Honig Publisher: Atlantic Books Price: PS12.99 Hardback (ebook PS8.99) NIKOLAI SHEREMETEV has never quite got the hang of how things work in Russia.

During his army service, he was unable to see that his captain was hiring his troops out on the side to build apartment blocks. Working as a nurse, he refused bribes offered by relatives to give better care to patients, even seeing his own wife die because he would not bribe doctors himself.

He is now faced with looking after former president Vladimir P, a senile old man who spends his days talking to imagined former minions and judo kicking the head of a Chechen fighter.

Even when he finds out he is surrounded by a whole staff of workers - housekeeper, chef, driver, gardener, security supervisor - who are stealing as if their life depended upon it, Sheremetev cannot hide his shock.

But when his nephew needs a massive bribe to get out of jail, Sheremetev has to confront his conscience.

The Senility Of Vladimir P is former doctor Michael Honig's second novel and an exciting tale of how even the best of men can face temptation.

Right up until the final moments, Sheremetev continues the fight against corruption in an entertaining story which will appeal to anyone with an interest in Russia and all things Russian.

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Nice Work (If You Can Get It) by Celia Imrie Publisher: Bloomsbury Price: PS12.99 Hardback (ebook PS6.17).

THERESA, Carol, William and Benjamin have all escaped to Bellevue-Sur-Mer, a picturesque town in the French Riviera.

But instead of sitting back and taking life easy, they decide to start a new enterprise: they're going to open a restaurant. …

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