By contrast, Jones’s woman in Berlin is an illegal migrant from North Africa who has found her way to the city to search for her son that her lover – an African-American-German – had abducted more than three years before from a hotel where she had worked and met him. Having been helped to find out his address, she makes arrangements with him to see her boy, though only irregularly and for just one hour each time. Moreover, she is made to pay for this ‘favour’, which forces her to borrow money from, and pawn the belongings of, the blind man she works for as a domestic aide and carer.
A book that is billed as ‘a philosophical thriller’ poses unusual questions. We don’t judge science fiction by the accuracy of its science. Nor do we require historical novels to adhere strictly to the facts. In both cases, perhaps, we would want the writer to be aware of the accepted consensus and to take account of it but the whole point of fiction is that it involves an invented reality. Shadbolt’s Season of the Jew, for example, is a novel first and history second. How then should we approach a fiction that is centred round a philosophical problem? Does it really matter if the analysis of that problem is unsound or incomplete? Should one forget the philosophy and talk about the fiction or should one criticise the philosophy and the fiction? The answer, I suppose, is that it depends on the book.
I enjoyed this initial collection of tales by Tina Makereti. It’s refreshing, rarely boring, easy to read. The stories rebound and resound with echoes from one to the other, motifs recur as time and legend intertwine in a patterning of melded possibilities and possible meldings.