Dear friends, if you like a good chuckle, dim-witted heroes, and larger-than-life villains, then you'll love this fascinating series. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, I’m blogging nibble-sized chunks of new ‘Life in the Clouds’ stories. You can check in regularly and read them for free, or wait to buy the entire story when published.
Enchanter on the Roof ® James Field. Part 24
In the morning, as the first light of day crept into her room, Olive sat up in bed and rubbed her face. “You bloody fool,” she scolded herself.
She’d tossed and turned all night, thinking about her fiancé, Bert, and the wrong she had done him. The poor man had watched her make a fool of herself trying to make out with Dick Charmer, a scrawny self-digger fifteen years younger than her.
In the long run, if she had to choose between the two, she would settle for Bert any day.
Bert was such a strange, mysterious darling: six-foot-six tall and thirty stone. He was an ogre of a human being, with no neck and a bulbous head that properly belongs to a bulldog. His hands can crush cocoa-nuts as though they were ostrich eggs.
He might be the ugliest man she had ever met, big and menacing as he was, but beneath the flab he was as kind and gentle as a kitten.
Kids and animals loved him. And he loved them back. They saw through his hostile exterior to the maternal softness within. Above all, he loved her with such a possessive passion that her toes curled with the thought.
Such is his strength, that he won a bet once by tearing his way out of a straitjacket, although it's surprising they found one to fit him. His chest and belly resemble a massive fragmentation grenade, and if you were stupid enough to pull the pin, it was liable to detonate.
How on earth must he have felt, she asked herself, watching me flirt with Dick Charmer? An acute pang of shame ran through her and she pulled her knees into her chest. She remembered his look of hurt and disappointment at the disco, so deep that a shadow of self-destruction had hung over him; either that or the destruction of something or someone else.
Heavens, what a fool she'd made of herself. Worse, would the sweet giant ever forgive her?
She climbed out of bed and made for the bathroom. Whatever else she did today, somehow or another she would make it up to him.
To be continued…
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A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To save the jobs of those in the Japanese government who helped him escape, Masaji Ishikawa wrote: “…obviously I wasn’t going to start talking to the press.” Instead, he wrote this mammoth best-selling book? Sorry, but I don’t believe this man’s autobiography can be true. If it is, then he is likely responsible for the sacking of those government officials who helped his return to Japan, and worse, expose his family to torture or execution in North Korea.
It may well be that he moved to North Korea in 1960, aged thirteen, where he lived until his escape in 1996. However, I rather believe his memoir is an over dramatised collection of exaggerated incidents he picked up from others. In which case, good for him.
I hope this is the case; otherwise, he puts himself in a poor light. From his book, he already comes across as egoistic, beating up anyone who upsets him and often leaving his family to starve while he runs off to find work to feed himself.
North Korea is undoubtedly not an agreeable place to live, but propaganda and false news flourish. The story in this book is captivating and mind-bogglingly tragic, hence four stars. I just don’t accept Mr Ishikawa’s life was as awful, or maybe I don’t want to believe, as he relates.
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