What We Are Reading Today: Midwinter Break

Updated 06 May 2018
0

What We Are Reading Today: Midwinter Break

  • If you’re looking for exquisite, lyrical prose and characters that are traced with honesty and compassion, this book by Irish author Bernard MacLaverty this may be for you.

Irish-born Gerry and Stella Gilmore fly to Amsterdam for a midwinter break. On the surface, this long-married retired couple have taken a holiday to see some sights and spruce up their humdrum day-to-day routine. 

But along the wintry streets and icy canals we see their relationship fracturing beneath the surface. This novel offers a near-forensic analysis of the “midwinter” of a long marriage. 

Rumbling frustrations and whiffs of contempt rub along with easy familiarity. The way Gerry still takes Stella’s hand when crossing the road, or the habit they have of sharing a kiss whenever they’re in an elevator, nods to a well-worn, if reflexive, intimacy.

But Gerry and Stella have reached a crossroads in their life. Now in their sixties, they realize they no longer share common interests — Gerry is a borderline alcoholic and Stella is obsessed with religion. They may not share common interests, but they still share the bond that comes from a long relationship. As their break comes to an end, we understand how far apart they are — but will they save themselves from a further drift?

Irish author Bernard MacLaverty’s approach is understated and meanderingly paced. 

But if you’re looking for exquisite, lyrical prose and characters that are traced with honesty and compassion, this may be the book for you.


What We Are Watching Today: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised 

Updated 21 May 2018
0

What We Are Watching Today: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised 

In Venezuela, where elections took place on Sunday, the legacy of the late firebrand socialist leader Hugo Chavez still dominates the country.

President Nicolas Maduro was the hand-picked successor to Chavez and campaigns on a platform of continuing the “Chavismo” policies.

Those policies have plunged the country into a deep economic crisis, despite it having some of the world’s largest oil reserves.

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is a 2003 documentary, which was filmed by an Irish crew, in the buildup to and during an attempted coup against Chavez in 2002.

It focuses on the role of the private media and the coverage of violent protests.

While it has been accused of pro-Chavez bias, the filmmakers’ close proximity to the unfolding events gives an uncomfortable view of the political schisms that threaten to tear Venezuela apart.