‘I have discovered since how much memory of ‘the old country’ is carried by migrants in food and cuisine. I am still addicted to Jamaican cooking: the creole blend of spices and seasonings – garlic, thyme, pimento, spring onions, Scotch Bonnet hot peppers… These smells and tastes bring back an entire life which, for me in London, is no longer mine.’

– Stuart Hall, Familiar Stranger

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‘The moon hangs low over Texas. The moon is my mother. She is full tonight, and brighter than the brightest neon; there are folds of red in her vast amber. Maybe she is a harvest moon, a Comanche moon. I have never seen a moon so low and so full of her own deep brightness. My mother is six years dead tonight, and Ireland is six hours away and you are asleep.’

– Colm Tóibín, One Minus One, The Empty Family

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‘I could feel that this going home to my mother’s bedside would not be simple, that some of our loves and attachments are elemental and beyond our choosing, and for that very reason they come spiced with pain and regret and need and hollowness and a feeling as close to anger as I will ever be able to manage.’

– Colm Tóibín, One Minus One, The Empty Family

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‘The most womanly problem is not giving oneself enough space or time, or not being allowed it. We squeeze ourselves into the moments we allow, or the moments that have been allowed us. We do not stretch out in time, languidly, but allot ourselves the smallest parcels of time in which to exist, miserly. We let everyone crowd us. We are miserly with our selves when it comes to space and time… I want to take up as much space as I can in time, stretch out and stroll with nowhere to go, and give myself the largest parcels of time in which to do nothing – to let my obligations slip to the ground, reply to no one, please no one, leave everyone hanging, impolitely, and try to win no one’s favor; not pile up politeness doled out to just everyone in the hopes of being pleasing, so I won’t be thrown out of society as I fear I will be, if I don’t live like a good maid, gingerly.’

– Shelia Heti, Motherhood

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‘A piece of fiction is a communication. You’re sending an urgent message in a bottle from your desert island. You hope that somebody’s going to find the bottle and open it… But the message that is found cannot be exactly the message you’ve sent. Whatever bunch of words the writer transmits requires a person, a consciousness on the other end, to reassemble it. You know how it feels when you read something that opens up a little sealed envelope in your brain. It’s a letter from yourself, but it’s been delivered by somebody else, a writer.’

– Deborah Eisenberg, The Art of Fiction Interview, The Paris Review

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