“A Judgement in Stone” by Ruth Rendell

{DC3C731F-2B77-4F27-B6BA-BD5D9D8C6BCE}Img400First: I don´t trust a person who has no addiction (food, cigars, alcohol, dance, cinema, movies, whatever fills human empty lunar box). Let me repeat: a perfectly balanced person with no obsession/addiction of her own is not to be trusted. A person like that is not a person. Not human.

Consider yourselves warned.

Second: Amazon is destroying my finances and my life. Stacks of books are eating my home. After a short while, there will be no place to walk, sleep, not even breathe. My wish list on Amazon is absurdly long and there´s no logical reason I can bring forth that can justify buying all those books.

Third: Hello, I´m Joana Saahirah and I have a book addiction. Nothing new, by now.

Aside from re-reading “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert (hello, MAJOR changes in course!) and “Pulp” by Bukowski (the man doesn´t hold anything back), I read – and fell in love with – a crime novel called “Judgement in stone” by Ruth Rendell, an English author who died recently.

My first glimpse of the novel happened last year, in Oxford, while I was studying at Corpus Christi college. (Oh, yes, the Dancer was in Oxford.) My tutor – not teacher – showed us a piece of the text and the fascination was immediate. My eyes doubled its seize. I may not know a lot of things but I do know a great line when I see it. Here´s the first, BOMBASTIC, phrase of the novel and the seed for a brand new addiction of mine:

“Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write.” 

Bam! It was love at first phrase. After the class was wrapped, I left the college campus and ran, like a maniac,  to Blackwells, a well known (devilish temptation) bookshop in Oxford. I got the novel, considering a scandal if the bookshop attendant told me the book was not available. The fact that I added other books and one of their delicious cappuccinos to the purchase doesn´t speak in my favour.

Brilliant stuff often come in – apparently – simple packages. I don´t remember any other first line of a book that had the same effect on me. That beginning was a thunderbolt – a slap on my face.

Reading the novel was amazing disturbing. Not in a thriller what´s going to happen next way. No, ladies and gentlemen. That would be too…errr…predictable. The novel leaves you hanging between sanity and clinical madness. It makes you think but, more dangerous than that, it makes you FEEL and it invites you to open your values box.

I finished the novel by the pool, in Portugal. A glass of watermelon juice and one of my cats were by my side. I sware I could see them staring at me, inquiring about the strange state I was thrown into by the readind.

The book moves your entrails; it makes your guts churn; it puts everything into perspective. It moves the basest of all basic values: what is RIGHT and what is WRONG? What is CONSCIOUSNESS? What is JUSTICE? What´s fair and who has the right to decide it? What does it mean to be HUMAN?

My head´s still spinning.

-Now cool down, girl. Just cool down. You have a book to revise and two, or three, other books to write. You´re also have your dance work, your trips, your classes, your shows. And you have to sleep…

I try to listen to that sensible voice. I do. Amazon doesn´t help; neither does my self-professed love for certain addictions. Like this one: books. Great books. Like this one.


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