Walking like a baobab

Walking like a baobab

What a wonderful and appropriate metaphor, set in a land where baobab trees grow. ‘His steps were like a baobab pulling up its own roots.’ Source: Mia Couto, The Tuner of Silences, trans. David Brookshaw (Biblioasis, 2012 (2009)), p....
A clinging sound

A clinging sound

What a description of a sound that can’t be unheard. ‘That noise was to cling to his inner ear like moss on a sunless wall.’ Source: Mia Couto, The Tuner of Silences, trans. David Brookshaw (Biblioasis, 2012 (2009)), p....
Inseparable as fingers

Inseparable as fingers

Yes, the fingers were inseparable for a while, but not united. This is a hand spread wide open with some of the fingers straining to escape from the others. ‘This little cluster of humanity, joined like the five fingers on a hand.’ Source: Mia Couto, The Tuner of...
Watching the sun rise

Watching the sun rise

This line stands out in the book as a contrast to the father’s generally benighted, crushing behaviour towards his sons, as if some part of him still inclined towards light. ‘He wanted to make sure we had witnessed the sunrise.  This was the first duty of living...
Street stories

Street stories

The street as a fount of stories, conveying the detail and complexity of human lives, even those which may appear humdrum to outsiders. ‘Now I know one thing: no street is small. They all hide never-ending stories, they all conceal countless secrets.’ Source: Mia...
Silence & music

Silence & music

Music is everywhere, this seems to imply; even silence is gravid with it! ‘Every silence contains music in a state of gestation.’ Source: Mia Couto, The Tuner of Silences, trans. David Brookshaw (Biblioasis, 2012 (2009)), p....
How to help a bird fly

How to help a bird fly

Wise words for human lives, all the more poignant for watching fledglings make mistakes and still persist in flying, even after surviving collisions with window reflections that look like open sky. ‘You don’t help a bird to fly by holding onto its wings. A bird flies...
A luminous woman

A luminous woman

The woman appears after a period of darkness in the boys’ lives, from which women were excluded – she is the first woman the boy sees that he can remember. ‘The woman had invaded me just as the sun fills our homes. There was no way of avoiding or obstructing this...
Compass needle obstinacy

Compass needle obstinacy

Again, one to use in everyday language, I like the idea of obstinacy presented as the needle’s tenacity in pointing in a given direction. ‘… as obstinate as a compass needle.’ Source:  Mia Couto, The Tuner of Silences, trans. David Brookshaw (Biblioasis, 2012 (2009)),...

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